Los Angeles County on Friday announced it has begun administering booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
The announcement came a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed giving a third dose of the vaccine to certain groups at increased risk of getting COVID-19, in order to offer added protection to those already fully vaccinated.
“Starting today, eligible Los Angeles County residents can begin receiving their booster dose at any of the hundreds of sites offering the Pfizer vaccine,” L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.
The health director said L.A. County’s vaccination network is able to offer the boosters while still continuing to prioritize getting first doses to eligible residents who are still not vaccinated.
Who can get the third dose in L.A. County?
Boosters are now only available to residents who received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago and are either:
- 65 years old or older
- Live in long-term care facilities
- Are 18 to 64 years old with underlying medical conditions
- Are 18 to 64 years old and have high risk of contracting COVID-19 due to their jobs. That includes health care workers, first responders, teachers, day care staff, grocery workers and staff in homeless shelters and prisons.
How to get the booster in L.A. County?
Residents can make an appointment for their booster by using the state’s MyTurn vaccine platform, or by making an appointment at a pharmacy or clinic that offers Pfizer vaccinations.
MyTurn is already letting users select if they need a third dose while filling out the online form after they indicate that they’ve previously received the Pfizer vaccine.
Residents will need to bring proof that they have received two previous Pfizer doses, officials said. For most people, that will be the white Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card, a photo of it, or a digital record of the two doses.
“At many sites, residents may be asked to sign an attestation form indicating they meet the criteria to receive the booster,” L.A. County officials said.
L.A. County sites offering the Pfizer vaccine include the University of Southern California, Pierce College, L.A. Union Station, the L.A. Zoo, the Crenshaw Christian Center, San Fernando Park, Lincoln Park and dozens of other locations throughout the county.
Those who need a ride to get to a vaccination site can call the health department at 1-833-540-0473 to be connected to free transportation.
What about those who got Moderna or J&J?
People who got the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines will need to wait until the Food and Drug Administration reviews the data about boosters and decides if they’re needed.
For now, boosters are only available to eligible residents who got Pfizer.
Does L.A. County have the capacity to be giving out third doses?
In L.A. County, slightly over a million people got two doses of Pfizer before April 1, the health director said during a media briefing Thursday.
Of those people, 420,000 are 65 and older, and many others were health care workers and people with severe risk for serious illness from COVID-19, Ferrer said.
Asked if there were plans to reopen the large-scale drive-up vaccination sites to keep up with the added demand, Ferrer said: “Our plan right now is to really use the capacity we already have in the system.”
“We think it’s pretty easy for us to be able to administer 130,000 doses a day through the existing sites, with the existing sites amping up their own capacity without opening up those handful of mega sites,” she said.