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COVID-19 vaccine booster now available; health officials encourage flu shots at the same time

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Lompoc Valley Medical Center is now administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster to those over the age of 65 and to high-risk individuals.

The COVID-19 booster shot is starting to roll out, and health officials are also encouraging people to get their flu shot at the same time. 

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s authorization of the Pfizer booster, shot Lompoc Valley Medical Center( LVMC) is now offering it to those who are eligible. 

“This week, we are offering it Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday," said Naishadh Buch, Chief Operation Officer at LVMC. "Going forward, we will base it on the sort of demand that we see.”

Immunocompromised people and individuals 65 and up are eligible to receive the Pfizer booster series.

“Right now it’s only Pfizer," Buch said. "When Moderna or whoever else gets approved by the CDC to give boosters, then we will go down that road. Although, we are giving the additional dose for the immunocompromised patients of both Moderna and Pfizer.”

For those getting the booster shot, plan your day accordingly to how you felt after getting the second round of the vaccine. 

“It should be similar to the last vaccine dose," Buch said. "I would imagine the reaction would be the same as they experienced after getting the second dose of the series.”

Buch said for those getting the COVID19 booster, they should also knock out getting their flu shot at the same time. 

“Although that may seem like vaccine overkill, the flu season is going to be upon us fairly soon," Buch said. "We were lucky last year that we didn’t have much of a flu season, but as we start opening up a little bit and people start mingling more, the flu will become an issue.”

Appointments at LVMC are strongly encouraged, but walk-ins are permitted if space allows. To make an appointment there or at another location in Santa Barbara County, you can go online to myturn.ca.gov.

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department said they will begin offering the booster shots starting Saturday, October 2 at the clinics in Grover Beach, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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