The number of booster recipients in Orange County reached 1,095,438, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported Thursday.
While data suggests the omicron peak in Orange County has passed, UCI epidemiologist Dr. Susan Huang described the current state of the pandemic as “still surging.”
According to Huang, booster shots not only help protect people from the virus, but they help prevent and treat “long-haul COVID,” a condition characterized by COVID symptoms lasting 20 weeks after infection.
A November study suggests those who receive their first vaccine dose prior to becoming infected have under a 3% chance of getting long-haul COVID, whereas unvaccinated people have a 23% chance.
It also shows that those who got vaccinated between zero and four weeks after recovering from COVID infection lowers their risk of contracting long-haul COVID to 9%.
“In the middle of a massive winter surge, you really should not wait to get vaccinated,” she said. “You should get vaccinated as soon as you’re no longer contagious.”
On Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health confirmed 14 cases of the omicron subvariant BA.2 have been detected in California, including in Orange County.
Huang described the differences between COVID variants as “marginal,” adding that three doses of the vaccine is still the best method of protection.
“Technology is a vehicle for getting a robust immunity response,” Huang said. “It’s efficient and very effective – a real nod to scientific discovery.”