Bay Area health officers stress booster shots amid emergence of omicron variant

Bay Area health officers are preparing for the potential arrival of the omicron variant of COVID.

Many stress booster shots as they can lessen the spread of the virus. Both private and public locations are offering COVID booster shots.

"Most boosters do require an appointment. So a little bit of planning is required," said Santa Clara County's top health official Dr. Sara Cody.

While the majority of residents in the South Bay have not taken advantage of the process, recent developments are leading others to act.

"Sign-up beforehand. It was a 20-minute wait when I got there," said Erik Blum, who received his booster shot on Tuesday. "Seems like a good thing to do these days, with omicron coming to town."

Santa Clara County health officials say they’re using genomic sequencing on 25-40% of positive COVID tests to see if the omicron variant is present.

"I actually think we are in a far better place facing this new unknown, than any other time in the pandemic," said Cody.

Officials conceded much is still unknown about this latest variant.

While it is highly infectious among young people so far, researchers don’t know how its presence will impact hospitalization and mortality rates. As a result, they stress all adults, especially those over 65, get a COVID booster shot.

In Santa Clara County that’s about 68% of that age group that still needs the third shot. In Marin County, it’s about 50%.

"From a public health standpoint, high demand for a vaccine is a good thing. Right now there are logistical barriers just to match the supply with that demand," said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County's top health officer.

One pharmacist says they’re doing inoculations, and running the pharmacy simultaneously. The combination slows the process, but there are still plenty of doses available.

Even if the efficacy sees a drop against the omicron variant, officials say it’s still part of a multi-layered approach to reducing infections.

"Even if the vaccine is not as effective, we will still get protection," said Cody.

She said it’s unknown if another booster shot will be needed down the road.

To make a booster appointment in the South Bay, go to or MyTurn anywhere in California.