COVID-19 booster eligibility expanded to all adults in California
Health providers in California cannot turn away adults 18 and older seeking a COVID-19 booster shot, according to a letter dated Nov. 9 from Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, the state’s public health director, expanding eligibility past older individuals and others with high risks.
The letter states that while providers should proactively outreach to patients who are 65 and older, have underlying health conditions, and received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, they should also allow patients to "self-determine their risk of exposure." That may include their work, location, household members or social inequity.
"Do not turn a patient away who is requesting a booster if the patient is 18 or over and has met the 6-month original vaccination series time period for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or it has been at least 2 months since their J&J vaccine," Aragón writes in the letter.
More than 179,800 additional/booster doses have been administered in Riverside County, according to county data.
California's booster eligibility goes beyond the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance, which endorsed boosters in October for individuals who: received their initial Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series at least six months ago; are 65 and older; 18 and older and live in long-term care settings, have underlying medical conditions or work or live in high-risk settings; or received their Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago.
Colorado and New Mexico have also expanded booster eligibility to all adults.
Pfizer and BioNTech asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize their booster shot for adults 18 and older on Nov. 9, but no decision has been made as of Monday.
Ema Sasic covers health in the Coachella Valley. Reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter @ema_sasic.