First Case of Omicron Variant is Detected in Santa Clara County; Health Officials Reinforce the Importance of Booster Shots

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2021

County of Santa Clara Now Providing Booster Shots for Those Age 16-17

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – On Thursday, December 9, the County of Santa Clara received its first report of a county resident with the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The individual is in isolation and was fully vaccinated but had not received a booster; they had recently returned from domestic travel out of state.

Health officials have been anticipating that the Omicron variant would be detected locally, so this report does not come as a surprise. This news, in conjunction with rising case counts in the county, Bay Area, and across the state, serves as a reminder for residents to adopt preventive measures, including vaccinations and booster shots, to best protect themselves and the community. With the CDC’s approval on Thursday, the County has begun accepting Pfizer booster appointments for those ages 16 and older.

“Although there are still many unknowns about this variant, we strongly recommend getting vaccinated and getting your booster if you haven’t already to help guard against Omicron,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director of Public Health, County of Santa Clara. “It is a new variant, but we know what to do, and that’s to continue with all our layers of protection: Vaccinate, boost, mask, ventilate, distance, and test often.”

“The main message now is the importance of boosters – two initial shots are not enough,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Vaccine Officer, County of Santa Clara. “Boosters have been shown to offer a great deal of additional protection from serious COVID-19 infection.”

In addition to vaccinations and boosters, masking, testing, ventilation, and distancing remain the best defenses against COVID-19. Officials noted that as the holiday season is upon us, people should stay mindful of risks.

If people must travel or gather for the holidays:

  • Get tested immediately before travel, upon return, and again 3-5 days later.
  • Have everyone ages 5+ get their COVID vaccine.
  • Have everyone ages 16+ get their COVID booster.
  • Wear a mask indoors and in crowded settings. Wearing medical grade masks and adjusting masks so they fit tightly are important.
  • Keep group gatherings small in both size and duration. Gather only with close family units.
  • Outside gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings.
  • Be cautious around elderly or immunocompromised individuals and consider COVID-19 testing before such interactions.

Parents of very young children and those who have not been vaccinated should make sure to take all advised precautions. Avoid large gatherings. Always wear mask in indoor public settings and in crowded outdoor settings (unless under age 2).

County clinics are taking appointments at www.sccfreevax.org. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all available within the County. Also check with doctor offices and pharmacies, many of which can provide COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters (see http://myturn.ca.gov).

Vaccinations through the County are no-cost to the public, insurance is not required, and there are no immigration requirements.

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