County of Marin - News Releases - Bivalent Booster

For Immediate Release
September 06, 2022

New COVID-19 Boosters Offer Enhanced Protection

Health officials urge prioritization for unboosted older adults

San Rafael, CA – Marin County Public Health and health care providers are recommending the newly authorized COVID-19 booster, which offers better protection against the currently circulating Omicron strain.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the new mRNA bivalent COVID-19 boosters, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorization earlier that week. Pfizer-BioTech’s booster is recommended for people age 12 and older, and Moderna’s new booster is recommended for adults age 18 and older. People are eligible to receive the bivalent booster two months after their past primary or booster dose of any vaccine. The new booster provides protection against both the original strain and the now-dominant Omicron BA.5 variant.

The BA.5 subvariant currently accounts for 100% of COVID-19 cases sampled in Marin County.

Marin County Public Health is strongly recommending the new booster for anyone age 50 and older who have not received a booster in 2022, or have not experienced a COVID-19 infection in the past 9 months.

“As the Omicron booster supply ramps up, we’re prioritizing those who are most likely to become seriously ill if infected,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. “Those older adults who haven’t been boosted or infected this year top that list.”

The new bivalent vaccine is already available at most major pharmacies across Marin County. Many pharmacies, such as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and Safeway, are scheduling advance appointments online, though time slots may be limited. In addition, healthcare providers across Marin will be offering the new booster for their patients. Vaccine supply will be scarce at first, but as the inventory of the update booster arrives in Marin, additional appointments will be added.

During the initial rollout, Marin County Public Health will be prioritizing its allotment of bivalent boosters for immunizations in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Throughout the month of September, teams from Marin Medical Reserve Corps and California Department of Public Health will work with Marin Public Health to vaccinate some of Marin’s most vulnerable residents.

More than 260 Marin County residents have died from COVID-19. Many deaths occurred prior to the introduction of vaccine, and 90 percent involved people older than age 65. Most deaths countywide have occurred in residents of long-term care facilities.

The prior mRNA vaccines have been de-authorized by the FDA, and moving forward only the updated, bivalent booster will be offered.

Marin County Public Health is recommending residents double-up on protection by getting the flu vaccine and the Omicron booster in the same visit. Most healthcare providers and pharmacies will offer both, and they are safe to be co-administered.

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Laine Hendricks
Public Information Officer
County Administrator's Office

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite #325
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7496
Email: Laine Hendricks
County Administrator website