LONG BEACH (CNS) - The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services will begin offering Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for 16- and 17-year-olds Friday.
Boosters were previously authorized only for those 18 and older, but the move by Long Beach follows approvals by the Federal Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for younger residents to receive the Pfizer-branded shots only.
``With boosters becoming available for everyone 16 and older, now we can further protect our community,'' Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said. ``Our success in vaccinations is thanks to the many people who got their COVID-19 vaccines and boosters early. Let's keep it up, Long Beach.''
Only those 18 years and older are eligible for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and boosters under the agencies' guidelines. The boosters are available six months after an eligible person receives their second dose of the Moderna vaccine or lone dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Health officials say that a total of 3,462 Long Beach 16- and 17-year- olds completed the Pfizer two-dose series by June 17 and will be eligible for booster shots Friday. All minors need parental consent in order to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
Long Beach's booster clinics have capacity to offer shots to all those eligible, according to the health department. Boosters also will be available at all city-run vaccine sites, which operate six days per week and offer both day and evening appointments.
Up-to-date hours can be found at longbeach.gov/vaxlb or by calling 562-570-4636. Eligible people may also receive boosters through their health care provider or at one of many local pharmacies administering the booster.
Although fully vaccinated people can still catch and transmit the coronavirus, vaccines have proved to be effective at preventing serious symptoms against the widely circulating Delta variant and are believed to provide some protection against the newly identified and highly contagious Omicron variant.
Health officials say it remains critical that everyone 5 years-old and older get vaccinated and that people who receive Pfizer or Moderna vaccines get both doses. Nearly all cases of severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 continue to occur among those not yet fully vaccinated.
The parental consent form is available online at www.longbeach.gov/globalassets/health/media-library/documents/diseases-and-condition/information-on/novel-coronavirus/general-public-handouts-and-graphics/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-consent-for-individuals-under-18-years-of-age.