COVID-19 pandemic
A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) booster vaccine targeting BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub variants is pictured at Skippack Pharmacy in Schwenksville, Penn., Sept. 8, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier/

County officials cited a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they continue to urge local residents to take the bivalent COVID-19 booster.

The CDC reported that the new bivalent boosters add protection against new variants of the virus while another study showed that the vaccine also protects against severe disease.

Wastewater surveillance indicates that recent variants, XBB and XBB.1.5, make up about 25% of the virus circulating in San Diego County, according to the Health and Human Services Agency.

Of particular concern for officials are people 65 years of age and older, those who are most at risk of suffering serious complications, including death, from COVID-19.

“While cases, hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing, these events are still occurring in San Diego County,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma J. Wooten. “These new studies reinforce the data that bivalent boosters, can protect you, your family and friends from getting seriously ill or dying.”

To date, more than 540,000 locals have been vaccinated with the bivalent booster since it became available in September, alongside the 80.5% of San Diegans – nearly 2.7 million people – who have received their primary COVID-19 vaccinations.

In the new COVID data released from the past seven days, 1,831 COVID-19 cases were reported, down by almost 600 from the week before. There were 396 hospitalizations for the week.

The total number of cases since 2020 is now 974,767. Officials also received reports of 13 more deaths; the local COVID death toll stands at 5,716.