Health officials urge public to get COVID-19 vaccine as winter season approaches

CBS47 News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The CDC has expanded the eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots and has said that individuals can now mix-and-match shots from different companies.

Health officials say hospitals in Fresno County continue to remain busy and staffing is tight.

When it comes to COVID-19 patients being admitted into hospitals, officials say Fresno County is number two in California, behind Los Angeles with the highest number of hospitalized patients.

“While our numbers are going down in alignment with the rest of the state, they’re not coming down that fast and I think that’s pretty telling for where we are right now. We have more progress that we could be making,” says Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

In Fresno County, about 46% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated, with 42% of the eligible younger population fully vaccinated.

“Overall in the state of California, we’re ranked about 32/33 for vaccine rate,” says Interim Assistant Director, Joe Prado. “It’s good progress, but we definitely have a lot more work to do in that front.”

Health officials say the goal is to vaccinate 75% of the eligible population by December.

With the FDA approving the Moderna and J&J vaccines for booster shots, health officials say the county could be administering those shots as early as next week.

Local health officials also say they’re preparing to serve people ages 5 to 11 as soon as they get the greenlight.

“Looking at that data and logistics, there is going to be a different bottle for Pfizer. It will have a different color label and so there will be a pediatric formulation,” says Prado.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health is urging the public to take advantage of the available vaccines, especially as flu season rolls around.

“Let’s protect ourselves from the winter flu season and the winter COVID-19 season where we may see a surge so take advantage of these vaccines that we didn’t have last year,” says Vohra.

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