COVID-19 pandemic
FILE PHOTO: Julissa Vasquez, 23, receives a COVID-19 vaccination as part of a drive by the Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians in Arleta, August 23, 2021. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

The number of people in San Diego County hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped by 14 to 221, according to the latest state data released Saturday.

Of those patients, 28 were in intensive care, down by five from earlier in the week.

There were 202 available ICU beds, down eight from Friday.

Meanwhile, new COVID-19 boosters that target multiple strains of the virus are now available in San Diego County, public health officials announced.

The new bivalent boosters were developed to generate an immune response from the original COVID-19 virus, in addition to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, county officials said.

The Pfizer/BioNTech bivalent booster is available for people ages 12 and older, while the Moderna bivalent booster is for those age 18 and older. The bivalent boosters have not yet been authorized for children under the age of 12.

Anyone receiving the new booster must be fully vaccinated with the two- dose primary series of Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax, or at least one shot of the Janssen vaccine. Those who received a COVID-19 vaccine less than two months ago were advised to wait before getting the bivalent booster until eight weeks after their last shot.

“These new boosters are safe and effective at protecting people against the Omicron variants, which are currently causing the majority of new infections in our region,” said Cameron Kaiser, county deputy public health officer. “Supplies of the bivalent vaccine will initially be limited, so we ask anyone who is planning to get the new booster to be patient.”

To start, doses will be available at four county-operated locations:

— South Region Live Well Center, 690 Oxford St., Chula Vista, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., which will have 150 doses a day;

— East Public Health Center, 367 N. Magnolia Ave, El Cajon, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., which will have 60 doses a day;

— Central Region Public Health Center, 5202 University Ave, San Diego, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., which will have 60 doses a day, and;

— North Inland Public Health Center, 649 W. Mission Ave., Escondido, from 9:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., which will have 60 doses a day.

The boosters will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis and are expected to be available in the state’s My Turn system in the near future.

Initial doses will be limited, but another shipment is expected to arrive as soon as Friday afternoon, county officials said.

Updated at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 10, 2022

–City News Service