One of the largest healthcare providers in Southern California officially rolled out the much anticipated new and improved COVID booster shots. But if you’ve never had the covid vaccine before, there’s something you should know.
The launch of the updated COVID vaccines at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles is a big day for Berndardo de Choza. He’s never missed a shot.
“This is my fifth time already. I want to protect myself because I don’t know about those variants that will come out,” he said.
But doctors know not everyone is as eager. Dealing with COVID fatigue has been an uphill battle.
“I know they’re tired. I understand that people are tired. But again, this is another thing that you can do for yourself to keep yourself out of the hospital this fall,” said Dr. Heidi Shafi, Kaiser Permanente medical director, clinical laboratory.
Pfizer and Moderna’s bivalent vaccines contain not only the original virus, but the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub variants. The White House calls it a new vaccine to encourage more uptake, But Shafi said the FDA authorized it as a booster.
“If somebody comes into our vaccine clinic today, and they have never been vaccinated, we are not allowed to give them this particular booster. They have to get the primary series,” Shafi said.
Two months after a person gets their second shot, then they will be eligible for the updated booster. The reason is because the original series lays down broad protection.
“The thought process is that let’s get a full coverage across the entire genomic material of the virus and then focus on the variants that are circulating more currently,” said Shafi.
Experts are predicting a COVID winter surge as well as a rough flu season. Doctors remind us to get both shots and don’t delay. Take it from a five-time COVID vaccine recipient who’s managed to avoid infection this whole time.
“I know this vaccine will help you a lot,” said de Choza.
The free boosters will continue as supply permits. Members and non-members can get vaccinated at most Kaiser Permanente facilities. Members can go on thewebsite to register. Non-members can call (833) 574-2273 to make an appointment.
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