'Nobody will be turned away': Everyone is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot in Santa Clara Co.

If you're planning ahead for Thanksgiving travel or gatherings, health officials say the time to get your booster is now.

ByMelanie Woodrow KGO logo
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Everyone is eligible for COVID booster shots in Santa Clara Co.
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Santa Clara County health officials say everyone is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot, not just those 65 and older.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Santa Clara County health officials say everyone is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot.

It's a message that may have not been clear earlier.

"I think what the public heard was 'I have to be 65 otherwise I can't get a booster' and that's not correct, that's not correct," said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer and Director of Public Health.

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Dr. Cody says when you factor in underlying medical conditions and those with increased exposure to the virus, there's very few, if any people who don't meet the eligibility criteria.

"We know protection fades from original vaccination," said Dr. Cody.

In Santa Clara County a little more than 200,000 people have received a booster, but more than 1 million people are eligible to get a booster according to Dr. Cody.

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Here's how Santa Clara County is preparing to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11-years-old.

The County's COVID-19 vaccine officer says of those who are 65 and older and at even higher risk, only 39% have been vaccinated with a booster.

"We urge people who have underlying medical conditions and are over 65, but as Dr. Cody mentioned, everybody is pretty much eligible for a booster," said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County's COVID-19 Vaccine Officer.

There are nearly 200 providers in Santa Clara County from hospitals to clinics to retail pharmacies.

RELATED: Pfizer asks FDA to OK COVID-19 booster shots for all adults

When asked if the county is being more lax than those retail pharmacies, the county's health officials said, retail employees are looking for you to state what criteria you believe you meet for a booster and that push-back is unlikely.

"Nobody will be turned away who wants a booster," said Dr. Fenstersheib.

The importance of getting a booster may be highlighted by the county's COVID-19 cases. Dr. Cody says the county is not down to where it was before Delta and is slowly drifting up.

Health officials say the booster takes one to two weeks to be effective. So if you're planning ahead for Thanksgiving travel or gathering, the time to get your booster would be now.

They also confirmed that side effects with the booster may be similar or more significant than with earlier doses.