Monkeypox vaccine appointments now available in Contra Costa County

New vaccine recommended by Contra Costa Health

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Sept. 21, 2023) — Contra Costa Health (CCH) is now recommending that eligible residents get the new COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it’s available through their healthcare providers.

Healthcare providers, including CCH, and commercial pharmacies will likely begin receiving the new vaccine by end of September.

The vaccine, approved this month by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, protects against strains of COVID-19 that are currently circulating.

CCH’s recommendation comes as an uptick in cases in the county has been recorded. The number of daily hospitalizations due to COVID-19 has slowly grown over the course of the summer across the Bay Area.

In Contra Costa County, for example, the 7-day average number of new, COVID-related hospital admissions has grown from 5.9 on June 14 to 12.1 on Sept. 9. Services at county hospitals are not currently impacted by COVID-19.

Effective against variants

“This COVID-19 vaccine is updated to be effective against variants of the virus that our residents are most likely to encounter this winter, the same way that flu vaccine is updated annually,” said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, Contra Costa County health officer.

“The older COVID vaccines do not protect against current strains. We really recommend the new vaccine for everyone, but particularly for those who are older or medically vulnerable,” he added.

Everyone 6 months and older is eligible to get a dose of the new vaccine, regardless of past vaccination status, unless they’ve already received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine within the past two months.

Contra Costa County will not host dedicated vaccination clinics, as it did during the federally declared emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which ended earlier this year.

Instead, people who have health insurance should contact their healthcare providers for instructions about how to get vaccinated.

CCH will provide vaccine primarily to Contra Costa Health Plan members, Medi-Cal and Medicare recipients that it serves, and people who do not have health insurance.

Mask update

Local health departments across the Bay Area have also enacted health orders requiring workers at certain medical facilities to wear well-fitting face masks while on the job, from Nov. 1 to April 30 annually. The order applies to workers at acute-care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes, and high-risk outpatient settings such as dialysis and infusion centers. The order does not apply to patients or visitors.

David Scholz
David Scholz

David Scholz is back in journalism as a freelance writer and photographer after nearly two decades in education. Prior to moving into teaching in 2000, he worked as a full-time journalist since 1988 for rural community and small daily newspapers in Central Ohio and Northern Nevada, and later in California with The Business Journal in Fresno and dailies in the Bay Area, including The Oakland Tribune and The San Francisco Chronicle. More recently Scholz also worked in an editing, writing, and page layout role with the Rossmoor News.