All adults in California are now allowed to get COVID-19 boostershots

LOS ANGELES, CA – All fully vaccinated adults seeking a booster shot should be able to get one, the California Department of Public Health announced Thursday in a letter instructing health care providers not to deny booster shots to patients .

The announcement opened up eligibility for booster shots for millions of people across Golden State. It came as coronavirus cases rose again in California, raising concerns about yet another winter rise. Over the past two weeks, COVID-19 cases rose 6 percent nationwide and hospitalizations rose 1 percent, according to the New York Times coronavirus tracker.

The Director of the California Department of Public Health, Tomás J. Aragón, sent a letter to health providers and county health departments across the state this week instructing them not to refuse booster shots to any fully vaccinated adult who received another Moderna- or Pfizer vaccine more than six months ago, as well as adults who received Johnson & Johnson shots more than two months ago.

“Do not reject a patient requesting a booster,” Aragón said. “Allow patients to determine their own risk of exposure.”

Until now, healthcare providers were instructed to administer boosters only to persons eligible under federal guidelines, including the elderly, workers at high-risk environments, and people at risk for severe coronavirus infections due to underlying health conditions.

But demand for the booster shot has been weak, despite reports showing that vaccine immunity is declining markedly after six months.

Fewer than 40 percent of fully vaccinated California residents age 65 and older have received a booster, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, only 14 percent of all people eligible for a booster have gotten one in California. Officials are worried that millions of people will gather during the holidays, unaware of their risk of declining immunity.

Of the 25 million fully vaccinated people in California, 3.7 million have received booster shots.

Gov. Gavin Newsom sounded the alarm at a performance in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

“Winter is coming. Winter is here,” Newsom said. “And as we tend to be reminded and should be reminded, last year we had a challenging winter, especially down here in Southern California. We started looking around this time last year cases, positivity rates, hospitalization rates, ICU numbers, begin to rise. We are starting to see it now all over the globe. We have seen these trends, not unlike last year. “

He added: “This is in so many ways part of a pattern that is familiar and the only thing that can disrupt that pattern is the only thing we are here to promote and that is to increase your immunity , which decreases after a series of months, six or so, by getting a booster shot and reminding everyone of the possibility of getting their first shot if they have not done so. “

City News Service contributed to this report.

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