County of Marin - News Releases - COVID-19 Booster Shots

For Immediate Release
September 24, 2021

Marin Readies for COVID-19 Booster Shots

Elderly and highest-risk categories prioritized; healthy advised to wait

San Rafael, CA – Marin County Public Health is coordinating with local health care providers, pharmacies, and others to ensure safe, efficient, and equitable access to a COVID-19 booster shot now that it is authorized by state and federal regulatory authorities.  

The COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be highly effective at preventing infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. As with most vaccines, that protection reduces over time for some individuals, and evidence suggests those at highest risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 benefit from a booster shot.

A closeup view of a nurses' hands giving a COVID-19 vaccine to an older man holding up his sleeve.Marin County Public Health is emphasizing that most of those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are very well protected already.

This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup (WSSSRW) provided federal and state authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots to be administered to specific high-risk populations.

A Pfizer booster shot is recommended for the following groups of people who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine series at least six months ago:

 In addition, the CDC and WSSSRW approved a booster shot for those who received Pfizer vaccine series at least six months ago and are (a) aged 18-49 with underlying medical conditions, or (b) are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational settings.

Authorizations for Moderna and Johnson and Johnson (Jassen) booster doses are expected to be considered by CDC and WSSSRW later this year. 

“We’re pleased to see state and federal regulators prioritizes our older adults who are at the highest risk of severe outcomes if they have a breakthrough infection,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s Public Health Officer. “It’s also important to note that most of those who are fully vaccinated are very well protected. Boosters are just that — they provide a small boost in immunity that is protective for some people.”

Pharmacies will be a primary access point for booster shots in Marin County. Chain pharmacies such as CVS, Lucky, Pharmaca, RiteAid, Safeway, and Walgreens plan to offer the booster shot in the coming days, and many locations are already accepting appointments. Altogether, the 29 chain pharmacy locations in Marin can provide nearly 800 shots per weekday. For a full list of vaccine-providing pharmacies in the Bay Area, visit

“Pharmacies have always been committed to community health, and we’re excited about this opportunity to protect our residents with COVID-19 vaccines,” said Ann Carpico, Division Pharmacy Manager NorCal Division for Safeway Pharmacies. “Pharmacies are also well positioned throughout our community to meet the demand.”

In addition, Marin County Public Health is working with local medical providers to build capacity so people can receive the vaccine in their normal health care environment as part of a regularly schedule appointment. Providers who offer regular vaccinations (e.g., flu, pneumovax, shingles) should provide eligible patients with COVID-19 booster vaccines as capacity allows.  

“Remember, these vaccines are very effective at preventing serious disease,” said Dr. Lisa Santora of Marin County Public Health. “This is different than the initial vaccine rollout: There is less urgency to get a booster shot right away and, in many cases, can be fulfilled during upcoming routine check-ups.”   

A special clinic for people 75 and older will be established at Northgate Shopping Center in partnership between Safeway and Marin County Public Health, based on evidence of waning immunity and higher risk of mortality in this age group. The site will open Wednesday, September 29, and proof of age will be required. Online appointments will open two or three days prior, and scheduling advance appointments online is strongly encouraged. Eligibility will be expanded once demand among the older group has subsided.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, including locations offering a booster dose, visit


Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Matthew Willis
Marin HHS website