Category Archives: Vaccine booster

FDA authorizes 2nd COVID booster for older adults

UPDATE: Second COVID bivalent booster shots set to roll out. Here’s what you need to know

Lu Foster receives a COVID-19 booster shot at the Lynne and Roy M. Frank Residences in San Francisco in October 2021. The FDA approved a second bivalent booster dose for older adults and people with compromised immune systems. Brontë Wittpenn/The Chronicle 2021

San Francisco Chronicle, by Aidin Vaziri, April 18, 2023 [See also, this article updated: April 19, 2023]

On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a second COVID-19 booster dose for older Americans and individuals with weakened immune systems to enhance their protection this spring.

Coronavirus map: How many COVID cases are in Bay Area and California

The move comes amid concerns over newer variants of the virus causing the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths to tick back up in the United States, particularly among vulnerable populations.

Individuals age 65 or older may opt for a second shot of the bivalent vaccine targeting the omicron strains of the coronavirus at least four months after their initial dose. For those who are immunocompromised, a second booster shot may be received at least two months later, with additional doses at the discretion of their physician.

The FDA also announced that the original versions of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are outdated and will no longer be used. Instead, individuals receiving these shots will be administered the newer omicron-targeted version. For those receiving their first-ever vaccine, a single combo dose will suffice.

A Jackson, Miss., resident receives a Pfizer booster shot from a nurse at a vaccination site. The FDA approved a second bivalent booster dose for older adults and people with compromised immune systems. Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press 2022

According to Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA vaccine chief, “At this stage of the pandemic, data support simplifying the use of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The agency believes this approach will help encourage future vaccination.”

Although Britain and Canada have already recommended an additional spring booster for vulnerable populations, high-risk Americans who last received a dose in the fall have been eagerly anticipating another dose.

Booster doses continue to stave off severe disease and death, even as more contagious variants have emerged, while protection against mild infections is short-lived.

At least 250 people in the U.S. still die from COVID-19 each day, many of them older and at higher risk for the worst outcomes of the disease.

Yvonne Maldonado, an infectious disease expert at Stanford, said, “If you look at who’s dying or getting sick now, it’s people who are unvaccinated or unboosted.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must approve the latest round of boosters, and its advisers are scheduled to meet on Wednesday.

The Pfizer and Moderna boosters contain protection against both the original coronavirus strain and omicron variants known as BA.4 and BA.5. Recent studies show that the bivalent shots are still effective, even as newer omicron cousins circulate.

The FDA’s simplification also means changes for unvaccinated children. Children under 5 may receive two doses of the bivalent Moderna vaccine or three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent vaccine.

People 5 and older may get a single bivalent Pfizer shot or two Moderna doses. Children already fully or partially vaccinated with the original Pfizer or Moderna shots may get a bivalent vaccine, but the number of doses will depend on their vaccination history, the FDA said.

While over 95% of the U.S. population aged 65 and older received at least one vaccine dose, only 42.1% of those eligible have received the latest boosters, which were authorized in August, according to the CDC.

The offering of a second bivalent booster will not interfere with the Biden administration’s previously stated plan of moving the nation toward an annual COVID vaccine similar to the flu shot.

But for eligible high-risk groups, a second booster in the spring is a reasonable choice, said Dr. Matthew Laurens of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“We do have vaccines that are available to protect against these severe consequences, so why not use them?” he said. “They don’t do any good just sitting on a shelf. So let’s give them to individuals who are at the highest risk and who can benefit the most.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Report shows booster way more effective than only two shots

Less than half of us who are eligible have gotten our booster!

Three HUGE new CDC studies were featured on CNN this morning, emphasizing the critical importance of getting your booster shot:

  • Booster effectiveness at preventing omicron hospitalizations: Boosters 90%, Two Shots 57%
  • Booster effectiveness at preventing omicron ER-UrgentCare Visits: Boosters 82%, Two Shots 38%
  • Booster effectiveness at preventing omicron illness: 66% lower for people who had booster vs. two shots along
Let’s be clear: who/when should get the booster…
Dr. Leanna Wen urges CDC to redefine booster as “third shot” so public will understand boosters are essential, not a “nice-to-have”.
Here’s the full CNN report, only 8 minutes of your time:

VIDEO: Benicia City Council chooses to continue mask mandate

BENICIA CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION ON MASK MANDATE, JANUARY 18, 2022

For a little over an hour last night, Benicia City staff, Council and members of the public discussed whether to continue Benicia’s COVID-19 mask mandate, and what “metrics” should be used to determine when it is safe to lift the mandate.

In light of the current upswing and unpredictability given the Omicron surge, Council chose to leave the mandate in place, and to keep an eye on mask regulations issued by the State of California Department of Public Health.

It’s a fascinating discussion.  Below you can view the entire conversation, or choose one or more shorter segments of particular interest: public comments by Benicia residents Stephen Golub, Marilyn Bardet, and Dr. Richard Fleming (and also the follow-up Q&A with Dr. Fleming. )  Finally, you may view Mayor Young’s 1-minute closing summary.

The entire conversation, Benicia City Council Meeting on Jan 18, 2022, ITEM 21.B) – UPDATE ON FACE COVERINGS MANDATE…

Public comment by Benicia resident Stephen Golub
Public comment by Benicia resident Marilyn Bardet
Public comment by Benicia resident Dr. Richard Fleming (including a really informative follow-up Q&A with Mayor Young)

No Action summary by Mayor Young (mask mandate remains in place for now):

City of Benicia This Week: COVID Vaccine Clinics offering 1st, 2nd shots & boosters

COVID Mass Vaccine Clinics

Solano County Public Health announces mass vaccination clinics now operating Wednesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Solano County Fairgrounds. Clinics are expected to be operational for a total of 8 weeks, until mid-December, with closures the week of November 3 – 6 and again November 24 – 27 for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

To make an appointment for the vaccination clinic, eligible residents can sign up to for their Pfizer booster or their first/second dose with the Pfizer vaccine online at https://vax.phast-vax-ca.org/en-US/. Details on Moderna booster vaccines will be available soon.

Those requiring registration assistance may call 800.672.0150.

Click the image or HERE for details.

MORE COVID ASSISTANCE: CITY OF BENICIA THIS WEEK NEWSLETTER