By Aldon Thomas Stiles, California Black Media
Golden State Public health officials are recommending that Californians take COVID-19 booster shots to prevent a resurgence of the disease and to celebrate the holidays safely with their loved ones.
“It’s not too late to get it,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Department, referring to the COVID-19 booster shot. He was speaking at a vaccine clinic in Los Angeles County last week.
“Get that added protection for the Thanksgiving gatherings you may attend,” he said.
Last week, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine boosters for all adults in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC followed with an endorsement of the booster vaccine, recommending it for people over age 50, and anyone18 and older who is at higher risk.
The CDC loosened the language for all other adults, saying anyone over age 18 “may” take the shot.
California officials say the booster shots are plenty and available throughout the state.
“If you think you will benefit from getting a booster shot, I encourage you,” said Ghaly. “Supplies are available. There are many sites across the state – thousands in fact.”
On Saturday, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed a separate review of the federal government’s approval process for the booster shots and also recommended that “individuals 18 or older who have completed their primary vaccination series,” take the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosters.
California, Oregon, Nevada and Washington state came together last year and created the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. The group, made up of scientists, medical professionals and public health experts, is charged with reviewing COVID-19 vaccine safety.
Over the last two weeks, COVID-19 infections across the United States have increased at a rate of nearly 33 %, according to the CDC.
Officials are encouraging people who took both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago to get their boosters now. People who took the one-shot Johnson & Johnson
primary dose at least two months ago, should also schedule their booster shot.
“COVID-19 boosters are available to all Californians 18 [and over]! Walk-in clinics are open statewide with no appointment necessary – like this mobile clinic in Avenal. Find a clinic or pharmacy near you and get yours today,” the governor’s office chimed in on Twitter.
Newsom has pushed hard for the vaccine booster since he received his last month.
“Great news for the rest of the country. The holidays are here — make sure to keep your immunity up and protect yourself and your loved ones. Get your booster,” Newsom tweeted on Nov. 18
According to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the booster shots are being administered under an “emergency use authorization.”
California Black Media’s coverage of COVID-19 is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.