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Millions more Californians are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine booster

Luke Money and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

The campaign to insulate California against another winter coronavirus surge got a major shot in the arm this week when federal health officials adopted criteria that will allow millions of additional residents to receive COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

Eligible recipients will be able to book appointments for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters as soon as Friday.

“If you’re eligible — get your booster,” Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted Friday morning. “Protect yourself and loved ones this winter.”

While both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have signed off on expanding the nationwide booster campaign, California has traditionally waited to officially implement such guidance until it can be reviewed by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, a coalition of public health experts from California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

The group is likely to move quickly, however, as it did last month to endorse offering booster doses of the other available COVID-19 vaccine, from Pfizer-BioNTech.

While boosters are now available for all three vaccine brands, there are key differences in who can get them.

 

Under the framework finalized Thursday, a third Pfizer or Moderna dose should be given to those 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and people ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions.

Boosters can also be given to younger adults with underlying medical conditions, as well as adults 18 to 64 who are at increased risk for coronavirus exposure because of their work or living conditions.

For all Pfizer and Moderna recipients, the additional dose should be administered at least six months after the completion of an initial two-dose inoculation series.

Adults who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine can get a booster two months after their first shot.

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