SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Research released today by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates booster shots provide the best protection against the Omicron variant.
Three separate studies each show the overall effectiveness of a third vaccine shot helps prevent serious infection when compared to those who have received only two shots or no shots at all.
The CDC indicated individuals were five times higher at risk to develop a serious infection as opposed to those who were fully vaccinated with a booster shot.
In Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, the number of fully vaccinated people that have received a booster shot is below 50 percent.
In fact, both counties each report identical numbers in terms of boosted individuals. The percentage of fully vaccinated people who have received a booster dose is 45 percent in both counties.
"A lot of people have gotten boosters, but there's still a lot of people that haven't," said Michelle Shoresman, with SLO County Public Health Department. 'We would really ultimately want everybody who's eligible to get a booster. Of course, some people can't for whatever reason. There are a variety of reasons why people can't get boosters, but we hope eventually who is eligible will get one."
Shoresman added unvaccinated individuals are accounting for most of the people with severe illness from COVID-19 in the county.
"We are seeing a majority of deaths, hospitalizations and cases in people that are unvaccinated completely or have not gotten their booster within a reasonable time frame," said Shoresman. "If you are eligible and it's been more than five months since your first and second dose, definitely get that booster."
In effort to boost up booster shot numbers, Shoresman said the county is doing everything it can to reach as many people as possible.
"We have plenty of booster appointments available at our public health clinics," said Shoresman. "The booster shots are widely available at local pharmacies and we also continuing to do mobile clinics in some locations where people might have difficulty getting into a pharmacy or to one of our public health sites."