THE County Health and Human Services Agency is urging people to give themselves, their family and friends the best gift available this holiday season ― vaccinations to protect against COVID-19 and the flu.
The updated bivalent COVID-19 boosters that provide the greatest protection against COVID-19 were recently made available to everyone six months of age and older.
COVID-19 and the flu are circulating at high levels this winter and vaccinations for both are widely available at local pharmacies and medical providers. The County will also be offering vaccinations throughout the holidays at its vaccination sites. Check online here for the days and hours sites will be open.
“Many San Diegans have taken advantage of the ability to get vaccinated,” said County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H. “But we can still vaccinate and protect more people. COVID-19 remains highly prevalent in San Diego County, and we’re entering January, the month historically when we’ve had our highest peak number of cases. So please take advantage and complete your vaccinations to protect yourself, your family, and others.”
County officials report that through this week, 80.5% of eligible San Diegans have received their two-shot primary vaccinations, 60.8% have received the primary vaccinations and a booster. They also report that one in five, 20%, of all eligible San Diego residents 5 years and older have received the new bivalent booster. In addition, 40% of people 65 years of age and older have received the new bivalent booster.
People across the country and in San Diego County continue to deal with multiple respiratory diseases this winter season, including COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Public Health officials still strongly urge people to get vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu.
The bivalent COVID-19 booster and flu vaccinations are separate shots, but they can be given at the same visit. They decrease the chances of getting infected, but more importantly, they effectively reduce the risk of severe illness and complications like hospitalization and death. Boosters are available through local participating pharmacies and healthcare providers. People can visit the state’s My Turn website to schedule an appointment. Booster dose availability is listed on the County’s COVID-19 vaccinations schedule webpage at https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/2019-nCoV/vaccines/COVID-19-VaxEvents/Vaccinations-Schedule.html.
Holiday prevention measures
County officials also recommend wearing a mask if you are able, particularly during indoor public gatherings, to protect yourself and those around you.
In addition to vaccination and masking, San Diegans can take other precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19, as well as seasonal illnesses like the flu. These measures include:
- Cleaning hands thoroughly and often • Staying away from sick people
- Staying home and avoiding contact with others when sick
- Regularly cleaning commonly touched surfaces
- Home testing when exposed or when ill. The federal government is providing free at-home COVID-19 tests available again through the winter for a limited time. Households can order one pack of four free tests through the U.S. Postal Service. For more information about testing, go to the County of San Diego COVID-19 testing webpage at https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/2019-nCoV/testing.html.
COVID-19 vaccination progress
- More than 2.69 million or 80.5% of San Diegans received the primary series of one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines.
- Bivalent boosters administered: 497,928 or 20% of 2,494,948 eligible San Diegans.
- More vaccination information can be found at coronavirus-sd.com/vaccine.
Data updates to the County’s coronavirus-sd.com website will be published Thursdays around 5 p.m., with the exception of holidays. More information about the flu is available on the County’s influenza website (https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/immunization_branch/Vaccine_Preventable_Diseases/Seasonal_Influenza/)
(Gig Conaughton/County of San Diego Communications Office)