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Central Coast hospitals see steady flow of COVID-19 patients amid push for booster shot for immunocompromised


SALINAS, Calif. (KION) With new evidence that vaccines lose effectiveness over time and antibodies from the virus wane after a couple of months, health experts are recommending COVID-19 booster shots for people who are fully vaccinated.

"If you did get the mRNA vaccine and it's recommended to get the booster you should stick with the same product if at all possible," said Dr. Martha Blum, Medical Director and Infection Prevention at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

Montage Health said hospitalizations have been steady.

"Unfortunately at Community Hospital, we still have a number of people being admitted with symptomatic COVID," Blum said. "We're having one or two people coming in to be admitted to the hospital every day for the last week or so."

At Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, they've opened a second COVID-19 unit.

Patients, they say, are getting younger and younger, with more in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

"Generally what we're finding, all the people that are hospitalized, about 90% of the people hospitalized have not received the vaccine," said Melissa Deen, Infection Prevention Manager at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System.

Doctors are recommending unvaccinated people who've had COVID-19 to get the shot to boost their protection after the antibodies wane.

"Anyone who has been previously sick with COVID, whether it's last year, or if it's been over 90 days we recommend they get a vaccine," Deen said.

For people who are wanting added protection with other vaccines, doctors say it's best to just wait for the booster.

"We do not recommend mixing vaccines," Deen said. "There has been no language from the CDC or FDA to allow individuals to mix those so if you had Pfizer do you booster with Pfizer if you've had Moderna do your booster with Moderna."

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital will be hosting a clinic later on this fall where people will be able to get their flu shot and COVID-19 booster shot at the same time.

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Max Tarlton

Max Tarlton is a morning anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.


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