A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in the gymnasium of Antioch Middle School in Antioch, Calif., on May 19, 2021. (Eli Walsh/Bay City News)

Santa Clara County is outpacing the state in uptake of the omicron-specific COVID-19 booster vaccine across all eligible age groups, the county’s top health official said this week.

Roughly one-third of county residents ages 65 and up have received the updated booster compared to just 24.3 percent of residents statewide in the same age group.

As of Oct. 26, 18.4 percent of county residents ages 50-64, 10.8 percent of those ages 18-40 and 7.4 percent of those ages 12-17 have also received the updated booster.

Countywide, nearly 16 percent of eligible residents have received the booster compared to roughly 11 percent statewide, according to county Health Officer and Public Health Director Dr. Sara Cody.

“While our numbers are certainly lower than we’d like, we are doing better than the state as a whole,” Cody said during Tuesday’s meeting of the county’s Board of Supervisors.

The booster vaccine, which is available to everyone ages 5 and up, protects against the original COVID strain as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the omicron variant.

Cody noted that data from the county’s main sewershed in San Jose, which covers more than 75 percent of the county, has shown that COVID transmission levels remain higher than they may seem by just observing the number of reported cases.

“We don’t know what’s just around the corner, but we think that the grandchildren of omicron are probably around the corner,” she said. “These are the children of BA.5. There’s a few variants that are emerging now, we’ve detected a handful in our county, but they’ve not yet taken off.”

In addition to encouraging residents to get vaccinated and take steps to reduce virus transmission like staying home when sick, Cody said there are also ongoing efforts to better understand long COVID and how to measure how widespread it is going forward.

“One of the things that worries me most about how we still have a lot of COVID circulating is I worry that the pandemic is going to have a very long tail, because there are a lot of people in our community who have long COVID,” Cody said.

“While we don’t have a robust surveillance system here in Santa Clara County, we’re getting better and better information from colleagues in other jurisdictions to be able to apply that and understand the burden here,” she said.