Newsom urges COVID-19 booster shots ahead of potential winter surge


FRESNO, Calif. (KTXL) — State leaders say anyone who wants a COVID-19 booster shot should now be able to get one in California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said his administration is bracing for an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

“This disease is not taking the winter off,” Newsom said Tuesday at a vaccination clinic in the Central Valley.

Newsom continued his warnings of a potential winter surge during a visit to Kings County.

The governor said officials are anticipating added stress on the state’s health care systems because of waning immunity of vaccines after six months, and because around 25% of the population has yet to get vaccinated.

“We are going to see an increase in cases. We have an increase in potential stress on our system,” Newsom said. “I don’t say that to alarm people. I don’t say that than for any other reason but to level with folks.”

Statewide, COVID-19 numbers are stable, with some parts of California starting to see increases.

With that, Newsom noted California is the first state in the nation to allow all adults access to the booster shot. But that could soon change, with a U.S. advisory panel set to discuss expanding booster shot eligibility during a meeting Friday.

The state sent a letter to health care providers urging them not to turn away patients who received their original Moderna or Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago or a Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine two months ago.

As of Tuesday, the state had administered boosters to more than 4.2 million people.

“Boosters are important to deal with waning immunity and important to help us get through this winter, to help us get through the winter we experienced last year,” the governor said.

Newsom recently signed an executive order that extends pandemic-related regulations to expand the state’s health care workforce, allowing health care workers from out of state to provide services in California. The order also continues to give health care facilities the flexibility to plan and adapt their spaces for COVID-19 care.

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