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County Administrator's Office

For Immediate Release

Sonoma County issues guidance on COVID-19 booster shots for 16- and 17-year-olds

Santa Rosa,CA | December 10, 2021

Sonoma County will immediately make 16- and 17-year-olds eligible for booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, aligning the county with new federal and state guidelines, the county Department of Health Services announced Friday. is currently being updated to reflect the expanded eligibility. Parents and guardians are encouraged to check with their teen’s health care provider to schedule their booster appointment.

At this point, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized and recommended for adolescents by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adolescents aged 16 and 17 are eligible for a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine six months after they complete their primary vaccination series. 

The decision to expand eligibility for boosters will provide another powerful tool to protect adolescents and their families from COVID-19, said Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s health officer. 

“The data is clear. The vaccine is both safe and effective for adolescents. It dramatically reduces the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19,” Dr. Mase said. “And it helps to keep others safe, too, by interrupting the chain of transmission and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Everyone 16 and older should obtain a booster as soon as they are eligible under the guidelines, which were expanded Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and endorsed by the Western States Scientific and Safety Review Workgroup, an independent scientific workgroup that coordinates vaccine policies in California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada. More information on booster eligibility, including when to get a booster and which vaccine to use, is available on the CDC website.

Vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19 as people gather indoors with the arrival of colder weather and winter holidays, increasing their risk of exposure to the virus, Dr. Mase said. Other preventative measures, like wearing a well-fitted mask and avoiding large crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, remain essential with the Delta variant continuing to spread in Sonoma County and the Omicron variant detected in the Bay Area.

Local data collected over the past three months show that Sonoma County residents who are unvaccinated are 9 times more likely to become ill, 40 times more likely to become hospitalized and 16 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who have been immunized.

“We have ample supplies of vaccines in Sonoma County. Don't wait, schedule your vaccination or booster appointment today,” Mase said.

As of Friday, 350,459 Sonoma County residents aged 5 or older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, equivalent to 74.5 percent of the county’s eligible population. Another 40,302 residents have been partially vaccinated. Boosters have been dispensed to 111,656 Sonoma County residents aged 18 and older since they were approved by the FDA and recommended by the CDC in September and October.