Santa Clara County Health Leaders Urge Booster Shots to Help Fight Omicron Spread

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Santa Clara County public health leaders once again are urging eligible residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot to protect against the fast spreading omicron variant.

Shots are available at local pharmacies, health care providers, and drive-thru and walk-up clinics. Residents can visit to book a booster shot appointment or find a drop-in clinic.

As of Thursday, 44% of eligible Santa Clara County residents have received a booster shot, the county said.

There have been 10 confirmed cases of the omicron variant in the county.

"The Omicron variant is causing a rapid, massive spike in cases in other parts of the world, and booster vaccines are our best defense against that happening here too," County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a statement. "The quicker our community is vaccinated with the booster, the more likely we can avoid the worse-case scenarios related to the spread of Omicron."

"Two shots are not enough anymore," Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the county's vaccine officer, added, referring to the initial two-dose series for Pfizer and Moderna. "We know protection against infection from the vaccines declines over time, so booster doses are critical for everyone who was vaccinated at least 6 months ago."

Hospitalizations across the U.S. are up 8% and deaths are up 5% in the just the past week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

California's case rate has risen to 113 cases per 100,000 people over the past week and is currently higher than in Texas (102) and Florida (78), though total deaths from COVID-19 still are lower in the Golden State.

Source: CoVariants
Amy O’Kruk/NBC

Santa Clara County issued the following tips for people who are traveling or gathering during the holiday season:

  • Get tested before travel, upon return, and again 3-5 days later
  • Have everyone ages 5 and older get their COVID-19 vaccine and boosted if eligible
  • Wear a mask indoors and in crowded settings
  • Keep group gatherings small / gather with close family units
  • Take advantage of quick and easy home test kits available in pharmacies and stores
  • Outside gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings
  • Be particularly cautious around elderly or immunocompromised individuals and consider COVID-19 testing before such interactions
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