City will administer Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot to qualifying residents starting today

The Long Beach Health Department is now offering COVID-19 booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine, the department announced today, following recent FDA and CDC approval of the medical treatment for older people and individuals with underlying health conditions.

At present, only individuals who qualify and received the Pfizer vaccine at least six months from their second shot are eligible for the booster.

Individuals who qualify must meet at least one of the following criteria (and received the Pfizer vaccine) and includes people ages 65 or older, are residents of a long term care facility, are between the ages of 18 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, or anyone 18 and older with “high institutional or occupational risk.” That criteria apply to healthcare workers, first responders, teachers, day care staff, grocery workers and workers in homeless shelters or prisons.

“Long Beach has been hailed as a national model for equitable and efficient vaccine distribution, and as we begin to roll out boosters, we are committed to making sure that everyone eligible for a booster can get one,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a press release.

The health department will administer boosters at all of its usual vaccine clinics, however, the city encourages eligible people to consider receiving their booster through their healthcare provider or at a local pharmacy that is offering the treatment.

A person must have received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on or before March 24, 2021 to receive a booster at a city clinic. People are asked to bring their vaccine cards showing proof of two Pfizer doses and will be asked on arrival to self-attest that they meet the required age, health conditions or employment requirements for eligibility.

Eligible people are encouraged to make an appointment online at MyTurn.ca.gov, where they can schedule appointments in Long Beach as well as the surrounding areas. The city also said they plan to add more appointment slots to accommodate, which would also include opening more clinics.

At present, there is no available booster for people who received the Moderna or J&J vaccine, but timing and eligibility are still being determined by the FDA.

In Long Beach, nearly 68% of all eligible residents are fully vaccinated and 77% of people ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Health officials urge people to get fully vaccinated as they have proven to be effective, even against the highly contagious delta variant.

Nearly all cases of severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 continue to occur among those not yet fully vaccinated,” the city said in a statement.

Long Beach recently surpassed 1,000 COVID-19 related deaths, with the most recent data collected by the city at 1,014 total deaths. Data collected by the city today report 33 new cases and 77 people hospitalized in local hospitals.

The daily new case rate per 100,000 Long Beach residents is now at 19.1, according to the city, dipping below 20 for the first time since July 22.

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.
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