Initial doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were administered to hundreds of Santa Barbara County health care workers on Dec. 17, 2020. Booster doses have now been approved for certain residents at high risk of contracting COVID-19 or of severe illness. 

Certain high-risk Santa Barbara County residents who received their full Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine series now can receive a booster shot from pharmacies and other medical providers for added protection from the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control approved Pfizer's booster shot Friday, following approval by the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday. 

According to the CDC, the following groups should receive a Pfizer booster no sooner than six months after their second dose — residents 65 and older, residents 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions and those in long-term care settings.

Other groups that may receive a booster six months following their second dose include residents 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions, and those whose occupation or institution puts them at increased risk for COVID-19 transmission.

“Booster shots will become an important part of our local strategy to protect our most vulnerable community members and end the pandemic. Local pharmacies and health-care providers are prepared to offer booster doses in your community,” said county Health Officer Dr. Van Do-Reynoso. “We want to encourage those who have yet to receive a first-dose vaccine to know that vaccines are still available to you.”   

People who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not eligible for a booster at this time, although both companies are in the process of obtaining approval for a booster.

Immunocompromised residents who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines are encouraged to speak with their medical provider about receiving a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

To make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment or find a walk-in clinic, visit myturn.ca.gov or call the county vaccine hotline at 211 and select option 4 for assistance.