California expands booster shot eligibility

Posted at 5:58 AM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 11:01:46-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — California has expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 booster shots for all adults.

The state is allowing people to self-determine their risk of exposure, and according to state officials, as long as the appropriate time has passed, no one requesting a booster should be turned away.

Per federal guidelines, booster shots are currently recommended for adults over 65, those with underlying health conditions, and anyone who lives or works in a high-risk setting, like a long-term care facility.

Now, California is allowing anyone who feels they'd benefit from the booster to have access to the shot. The announcement was made on Nov. 9 in a letter from the California Department of Public Health.

Dr. William Tseng, with Kaiser Permanente and the vaccine lead for San Diego, explained that anyone that feels they fit into California’s eligibility should be able to get their shot.

“They really just opened up the definition a little bit more than what the CDC says and that makes it so that it's really very inclusionary in terms of who can get it,” explains Dr. Tseng.

Figuring out where to get your booster can be a bit complicated.

CVS and Walmart tell ABC 10News they're sticking to the CDC guidelines for eligibility. Walgreens will vaccinate anyone that's eligible, while Sharp is following the state's guidance.

Scripps Health said they're sticking with the CDC guidelines as well, but added that it's a self-attestation process, meaning the patient will answer questions about their qualifications.

Kaiser says they're also following CDC guidance, but that the criteria, even for the CDC, is broad.

“I would say that it would be very tough to find somebody who doesn't fit in that criteria, I think that criteria is so open and so inclusive,” says Dr. Tseng.

A person can get their booster as long as they're over 18 and it's been six months since their Moderna or Pfizer shots or two months after Johnson & Johnson.

Dr. Tseng says that although booster shots are a good idea for those who need and want them, the priority is still to get the unvaccinated fully vaccinated as they are still at the highest risk of hospitalization or death.