The County of Santa Clara announced today that its mass vaccination locations and local clinics are prepared to administer the updated Moderna and Pfizer bivalent COVID-19 boosters once supplies arrive. The first significant shipment of the bivalent COVID-19 boosters is not expected to be delivered until next week, with new vaccination appointments being scheduled no earlier than Wednesday, Sept. 7.
The County of Santa Clara will follow federal recommendations and no longer provide the original COVID-19 booster to those eligible for the bivalent booster. There are no COVID-19 booster shot changes for the 5 to 11-year-old age group. The County is awaiting official guidance regarding the optimal timing to receive the updated booster shot under various scenarios.
Both vaccines are “bivalent” and should provide a greater level of defense against COVID-19 by targeting the original strain of the novel coronavirus as well as the currently dominant Omicron BA.5 variant. The Pfizer Omicron booster will be available for people 12 and older, and the Moderna booster will be available to individuals 18 and older.
The Omicron variant first appeared in the United States in the fall of 2021 and became the dominant variant in the U.S in mid-December 2021. The subsequent BA.4 and BA.5 variants of COVID-19 appeared in the United States in the spring of 2022.
“This new bivalent booster is a welcome addition to our arsenal of defenses against COVID-19. The virus continues to reinvent itself and we must continue to adjust our response with updated vaccines,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Public Health Department Director for the County of Santa Clara. “With the addition of these updated boosters, we are in a stronger position to protect ourselves and our communities and to save lives.”
The availability of the latest booster could be a critical asset in driving down community transmission levels against the now dominant variant.
“The County of Santa Clara is committed to quickly making the bivalent vaccines readily available to our community,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. “Our hope is this will slow transmission and mitigate harm that may come from a fall or winter surge.”
Everyone is encouraged to check with their primary physician about receiving the bivalent Omicron booster vaccine. Those without a primary healthcare provider or who are having difficulty finding an appointment can go through www.sccfreevax.org for an appointment.