San Luis Obispo County health officials are preparing for COVID-19 booster shots while awaiting further guidance from state and federal authorities.
Health officials say the COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective at reducing infection and preventing the most severe outcomes, including hospitalization and death.
Right now medical experts are reviewing evidence that suggests immunity from a COVID-19 vaccine may wane over time so federal officials are considering recommending a booster shot for those at the highest risk of severe outcomes.
Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine advisory panel recommended authorizing a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months after completion of the two-dose series for individuals aged 65 and older or at high risk for severe illness. Consideration for Moderna booster doses is expected in early October, and evidence for a Johnson and Johnson booster may be available toward the end of this year.
Right now the CDC already recommends an additional dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for severely immunocompromised people.
"The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department is coordinating with and surveying local healthcare providers to better understand how they plan to provide their patients with efficient and equitable access to a COVID-19 booster shot," said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. "We are exploring a number of distribution options prior to the booster shots being authorized and recommended. We will share more information as soon as we complete this process, and before the shot becomes available in the coming weeks."
Next, the FDA will consider authorizing the use of the booster, and CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will review available data to make a booster recommendation at a meeting scheduled for September 22-23. If the FDA authorizes a booster and the CDC adopts a recommendation by ACIP for its use, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup will also independently review the recommendation.
For updates on COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788-2903.