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Omicron vaccine

Omicron boosters now available to everyone in Contra Costa County

on September 11, 2022


Contra Costa Health Services is now offering the new omicron booster shots
in Richmond.

“This Omicron booster will offer vaccinated people renewed protection against new variants such as BA.5, which is now dominant, before fall and winter,” said Will Harper, a Health Services spokesperson.

The World Health Organization’s initial reports on omicron have found it is less
severe than other forms of the virus, such as the delta variant. However, omicron is much more contagious, which is why development of a booster to specifically target this variant has been underway for many months.

At the end of August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved both the Pfizer/BioNTech single-dose booster for people ages 12 and over and the Moderna version for adults only. Recipients first must have the initial shots of the mRNA-based vaccines, regardless of how old they are.

Contra Costa Health Services started giving the vaccines on Friday. Harper said the booster is available to everyone, no matter what type of vaccine or booster they previously received, as long as at least two months has passed since their last shot.

People who have recently been infected with the coronavirus are advised to wait two months after their initial positive test result before getting the omicron booster.

Omicron vaccine
Jason Singson with an updated vaccination card after getting the new booster to protect against the omicron variant of COVID-19 (Jule Hermann)

The Richmond vaccination site opened at Memorial Auditorium on Saturday and had a steady flow of visitors. One of the first people to get the booster there was 68-year-old Tom Mathiesen, who is a strong believer in the effectiveness of COVID vaccines.

“I feel that the science has shown that they definitely prevent people from getting very sick and from dying. [It’s] important to me to stay as protected as I can from the virus,” he said.

County case counts are trending downward. The county average of people testing positive in the past 14 days is 7.5%. But Health Services warns that the effectiveness of both the original Pfizer and Moderna vaccines wanes over time. Still, they offer strong protection against hospitalization.

Almost 87% of the residents in Contra Costa County have received their primary
vaccinations, with slightly more than half having also received at least one booster for a monovalent (meaning a vaccine targeting one form of COVID-19).

At high risk for monkeypox? Richmond vaccine clinic is taking appointments

Optimal protection against COVID-19 is especially essential once the days get colder.
Surges in case numbers are much more likely during the fall and winter, as Health Services data shows. Last winter, for example, the seven-day average shot up from 461 new cases per day at the end of December to about 3,300 by mid-January.

“We’ve had winter surges each year,” noted 25-year-old Jason Singson, who got his booster shot in Richmond on Saturday. “We can’t hope, hope is not a good strategy. A good strategy is getting vaccinated.”

The Richmond clinic, at 403 Civic Center Plaza, is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. County-run vaccination sites in Richmond, Antioch and Concord accept appointments as well as walk-ins. Appointments may be booked online at covidvaccine.cchealth.org or by calling Health Services at 833-829-2626.

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