Demand for COVID Booster Shots Raise Vaccine Staffing Concerns

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Healthcare experts are warning that people seeking booster COVID shots, vaccines for kids and the flu shot may overwhelm an already stressed healthcare system.

CVS said it plans to add 25,000 employees nationwide this week to prepare for a potential surge in the demand for COVID booster shots.

In the Bay Area, hospitals are scrambling to get more healthcare workers to help get shots into arms.

More than 1.4 million people ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated in Santa Clara County. Healthcare workers are

The possible spike in the demand for COVID booster shots comes after the FDA advisory committee recommended boosters for people age 65 and older and for those with underlying complications.

"What we are really concerned about in the healthcare field is that we have boosters and then we have the pediatric population being able to be vaccinated," said Jo Coffaro, Hospital Council of Northern and Central California vice president. "And then we also have flu season happening at the same time. And in addition, we have the fatigue of our healthcare workers."

Coffaro said a wave of healthcare workers are burned out and leaving the profession or retiring. And while hospital s are trying to hire traveling nurses to fill spots, that has been a challenge too because many of them are already in demand in other parts of the country where COVID is still overwhelming hospitals.

"Everyone is competing for the same resources," Coffaro said.

Healthcare workers will also be tasked with giving people flu vaccines -- a potentially tall order with people now going back to work and school. Doctors said that process could not be streamlined.

"You can definitely get a flu shot and COVID vaccine at the same time," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UCSF infectious disease specialist. "There should be no confusion. It is very safe and very effective."

In fact. Chin-Hong said Moderna is even looking at combining the flu and COVID vaccines together in the future.

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