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Updated COVID-19 vaccine booster available in Sonoma County; supplies still limited

County officials received a total of 900 doses this week and expect 2,000 more sometime next week. The new, updated booster is effective against the omicron subvariants as well as the main strain of the virus itself.|

Supplies of the new, updated COVID-19 booster have begun flowing into Sonoma County, just one week after federal health officials authorized use of the vaccine, which targets both the highly infectious omicron subvariants and the original strain.

County health officials said the public health division has received 600 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 300 of its Moderna counterpart. Those doses are being given to local health clinics and community vaccine clinics, said Matt Brown, a public health spokesperson.

“We expect to receive about 1,000 more doses of each early next week,” said Brown, adding that local hospitals and pharmacies also are receiving their own supplies.

Kaiser Permanente, the county’s largest health care provider, has begun setting up appointments for the new booster, though supplies are limited, said Adriann McCall, a Kaiser spokesperson.

Kaiser said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people age 12 years and older get an updated COVID-19 booster for better protection against the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. The majority of cases for much of the year have been caused by these subvariants. Experts expect omicron subvariants to continue circulating in the fall and winter.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended its emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to include an updated booster for people 12 years and older, while the updated Moderna vaccine was approved for people 18 and older.

Kaiser officials said they will begin providing the updated boosters on a larger scale by Sept. 20, though supplies may be limited in the first few weeks. Kaiser members can check kp.org for appointment availability.

Pedro Toledo, the chief administrative officer at Petaluma Health Center, said they received a shipment of about 320 doses Thursday and resumed vaccine clinics for health center patients. Last week, state health officials asked health care providers to cease giving boosters until the updated formulations were available.

Sutter Health said Thursday it is now offering updated booster doses to eligible individuals ages 12 years and older. Sutter patients can book an appointment by calling 844-987-6115, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Online appointment scheduling through Sutter’s patient portal will be available soon, though availability may be limited until more supplies are received, according to a Sutter spokesperson.

Christian Hill, a spokesperson for Providence Sonoma County, which runs Santa Rosa Memorial, Petaluma Valley and Healdsburg hospitals, said those facilities expect the new booster to be available early next week.

County officials said limited doses are also available at community vaccine clinics, such as the Rohnert Park Community Center and the Roseland Community Center.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @pressreno.

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