San Francisco, California- In a letter to local health providers, the state’s director of public health stated that everyone who demands a booster shot in California should be able to get one if their initial immunization was received long enough ago.
While health care providers and jurisdictions should proactively reach out to certain subsets of the population for booster shots, they should “allow patients to self-determine their risk of exposure” and “not turn a patient away who is requesting a booster,” according to Dr. Tomas Aragon, director of the state’s Department of Public Health.
According to the letter, people should get the booster vaccine if they are 18 or older and have been vaccinated at least six months ago with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two months ago with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The letter’s booster shot guidelines are far less strict than those set by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommend booster shots for people 65 and older, those with certain underlying medical conditions, those who live in long-term care facilities, and those who work or live in other high-risk settings.
The California Department of Public Health has not revealed what prompted the policy change, but at a news conference in Southern California on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state officials encouraged people to get the booster shots ahead of the upcoming winter holidays, when people are more likely to gather indoors with friends and family.