In a letter last week, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials directed health care providers not to deny booster shots to adult patients. The announcement opened up booster shot eligibility to millions of residents across the state.
According to the letter, as long as a patient's second Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shot was at least six months prior, all Californians 18 and over are eligible for the booster shot, and only need to wait two months if they received the Johnson & Johnson shot.
"Do not turn a patient away who is requesting a booster," California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Tomás J. Aragón wrote in the letter. "Providers should not miss any opportunity to vaccinate the unvaccinated or provide boosters by offering vaccines during routine or nonroutine visits to medical offices, clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals."
The letter explains that a patient's assessment of their own risk of 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 to be determined by the individual.
During a White House briefing last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky explained that the FDA is looking at data from the booster shots, and will consider making a larger portion of the adult population eligible for the shot. This comes after a panel of specialists last month declined to make those recommendations. The administration says its focus is on getting shots to those who are unvaccinated.
Read the letter Here.