COVID booster shots are now available


TRI-CITY AREA — Nearly every COVID-19 statistic for both Lapeer and St. Clair counties increased in the past week.

Both counties recorded more new cases, deaths and hospitalizations between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1 compared to Sept. 18-24. Additionally Lapeer County’s positive test rate increased from 11 to 12 percent but St. Clair’s dropped slightly from 10.1 to nine percent.

Lapeer County confirmed 197 new cases (127 the week prior), 48 probable cases (26) and five deaths (two). Fifteen residents were hospitalized locally (10) with five requiring the use of a ventilator.

St. Clair County saw 398 new cases (381 the week prior) and 11 deaths (five). Eleven residents were hospitalized as compared to seven the week prior.

Both counties’ vaccination rates also increased. In one week’s time, Lapeer saw their fully vaccinated population increase from 47.3 to 47.7 percent. St. Clair’s grew from 50.6 to 51 percent. As of October 2, 58 percent of Michigan residents were fully vaccinated.

Last week, the St. Clair County Health Department announced they would begin offering COVID-19 booster shots to residents whose primary series was the Pfizer vaccine, based on a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The St. Clair County Health Department, along with other providers, are now administering COVID-19 booster shots.

The CDC recommendation for Pfizer booster doses 6 months after the second dose includes:

•Older adults (65 years and older)

•Adults in long-term care or other institutional settings

•People aged 18-64 years with certain underlying health conditions

•Adults working in certain jobs where they are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19

—First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
—Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
—Food and agriculture workers
—Manufacturing workers
—Corrections workers
—U.S. Postal Service workers
—Public transit workers
—Grocery store workers.

To be eligible, at least 6 months must have passed since a second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals must also be at increased risk of severe illness or exposure because of age, underlying health conditions, employment, or living in an institutional setting, such as a long-term care facility. COVID-19 vaccine is free at local health care providers, pharmacies, and the St. Clair County Health Department.
“Vaccination remains our best protection against severe COVID illness and death,” said Dr. Annette Mercatante, Medical Health Officer with the St. Clair County Health Department.

To schedule an appointment at the St. Clair County Health Department call 810-987-5300.

Lapeer County Health Department officials are currently recommending that residents 65 and older and those with underlying medical conditions contact their primary care doctor to determine if they should seek out an additional or booster dose of the vaccine. Director Kathy Haskins notes that an additional dose is approved for both Pfizer and Moderna series while boosters are for Pfizer only.

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In a related matter, the St. Clair County Health Department rescinded their order requiring close contacts of those individuals with COVID-19 to quarantine. See the “County scraps quarantine order” on this page, 10-A.