Booster shots are now available to all Californians over the age of 18 as long as they are at least two months past their initial Johnson & Johnson dose or six months past their second Pfizer or Moderna shot.
In a letter to healthcare providers dated Nov. 9, the state’s public health officer, Dr. Tomas Aragon, directed that no one should be turned away from receiving a booster if they meet those criteria.
Federal guidelines limited boosters to any adults who received a Johnson & Johnson shot as well as those who received Pfizer or Moderna, are at least 65 years old or are at risk due to underlying medical conditions or workplace exposure.
State officials, fearing a rise in breakthrough cases among the vaccinated, have now essentially expanded that booster criteria to all adults.
“The patient’s assessment of risk exposure may include, but is not limited to, those who work with the public or live with someone who works with the public, live or work with someone at high risk of severe impact of COVID, live in geographic areas that have been heavily impacted by COVID, reside in high transmission areas, live in a congregate setting, experience social inequity, or other risk conditions as assessed by the individual,” Aragon said.
He also advised providers to “not miss any opportunity to vaccinate the unvaccinated or provide boosters by offering vaccine during routine or non-routine visits to medical offices, clinics, pharmacies and hospitals.”
The move comes amid lagging numbers of Californians over 65 receiving recommended boosters as well as a plateau in new cases.
With Thanksgiving and the winter holidays approaching, the state’s secretary of health and human services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, said, “if you think you will benefit from getting a booster shot, I encourage you to go out and get it.
Even without boosters, vaccinated Californians with breakthrough infections are far less likely to end up hospitalized with COVID-19 or to die from the virus. According to state data, unvaccinated individuals are 9.8 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than unvaccinated individuals and 16.9 times more likely to die.
However, vaccinated individuals who contract the virus can still pass it on to others, including those who are unvaccinated or at risk for severe disease.
Vaccines for children
California began offering COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 to 11 on Nov. 3.
Pfizer pediatric doses are now available in Yolo County at pharmacies, healthcare providers, community clinics and school clinics. Parents can find COVID-19 and flu vaccination locations at myturn.ca.gov.
The Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency is working with community clinics, independent pediatricians and school districts to offer the vaccine across the county. School clinics are opening to the public in Davis, Esparto, West Sacramento and Winters, as well as more in Woodland.
After reviewing the scientific data earlier in the month, the Western States Safety Review Workgroup recommended the vaccines for children shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did.
The workgroup “reviewed safety data for the vaccine, noting the absence of any severe adverse events among vaccine recipients in the clinical trial,” the county noted in a press release.
Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson said she strongly recommends “that parents vaccinate their children to protect them against COVID-19.
Parents will need to fill out a consent form – in advance or on-site – for their children. Find more information and county clinic locations on myturn.ca.gov or www.yolocounty.org/getvaccinated, or by calling 1-833-422-4255.