Pfizer announced Thursday it will seek emergency authorization for the third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, which the company says could boost immunity and ward off disease tied to the emergence of the Delta variant.
While researchers say the vaccines widely available in the U.S. provide adequate protection against the Delta variant, officials are concerned that as vaccine immunity wanes, a booster shot could be warranted to provide adequate protection.
On Thursday, Dr. Mikael Dolsen of Pfizer told The Associated Press that early data from the company’s study shows that a patient’s antibody levels jump five-to-10 fold after a third dose of the vaccine.
With this promising data in hand, Pfizer plans to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for a third dose in August.
Still, even FDA emergency approval does not mean Americans will automatically be offered a booster shot, according to national reports. Public health authorities still need to determine whether booster shots are actually needed, especially as millions of Americans remain unvaccinated.
As of Friday, 59.5% of eligible Santa Barbara County residents 12 and older were fully vaccinated.
The county’s Public Health Department reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and one new death. The individual who died was between 50 and 69 years old, resided in the North County’s unincorporated areas and had underlying medical conditions.
On Friday, one new case was reported in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc, bringing the county’s active case count to 46 infections.
As of Friday, eight people were hospitalized with COVID-19. Three of those patients were recovering in the ICU.