SACRAMENTO –(9/03/22) Today, California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, and Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, issued a joint statement on the emergency use authorization in the United States of updated COVID-19 boosters – the Moderna bivalent booster for individuals 18 years of age and older and the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster for individuals 12 years of age and older. This statement follows the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup’s and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) support of the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation.
“Most Californians are now eligible for an updated Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech booster and will be able to strengthen their protection against COVID-19 as we head into the fall and winter seasons. These boosters are bivalent, which means they are pulling double duty by increasing immunity against the original coronavirus strain while also protecting against the newer Omicron variants threatening Californians. Because protection from infection can decrease over time, the updated boosters are a safe way to maintain protection and reduce the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalization, long COVID, and death.”
To be eligible, individuals must have completed their primary series dose(s) at least two months prior to receiving an updated booster. Individuals are eligible to receive the updated booster regardless of previous booster doses received. The updated bivalent boosters will now replace the existing monovalent booster vaccines for individuals 12 years of age and older. Children ages 5-11 can still boost their immunity with the monovalent boosters.
In alignment with Governor Newsom’s SMARTER plan, the California Department of Public Health encourages everyone to wear a well fitted mask with good filtration indoors, get tested if exposed to the virus or have symptoms, improve ventilation indoors, and stay home when sick. Keep a lookout for symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing or coughing, which may be signs of COVID-19 or the flu. The best way to prevent serious illness is to be up-to-date on your COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
The state is prepared to begin offering the updated boosters to Californians 12 years and older as supplies arrive over the next few days. Updated boosters for our younger population are expected in the coming months so no one is left behind. We encourage individuals to check with their medical care provider or local clinic for an updated booster appointment, or to book through vaccines.gov. Appointments will also become available through myturn.ca.gov within weeks.