Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Oakland on Wednesday morning to promote COVID-19 booster shots for eligible residents and received a booster himself.
The governor visited Asian Health Services, which began in Oakland’s Chinatown 47 years ago, and presently serves the community with medical, dental, and mental health services.
Newsom encouraged those eligible, which include seniors and people living in communities hardest hit by the pandemic, to get a booster shot, which will protect them, their families, and the community.
“We all want to be past this pandemic,” Newsom said.
Newsom received the Moderna vaccine booster Wednesday, while his initial dose was the Johnson & Johnson version. Newsom expressed confidence that it’s OK to mix and match vaccines when getting the booster.
State Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly administered Newsom’s shot live on camera.
Mixing and matching vaccine types when getting a booster has been endorsed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Western States Scientific Review Workgroup, which has been reviewing federal health recommendations around COVID-19.
The Food and Drug Administration last week approved the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for use as boosters. The Pfizer vaccine was approved in September for use as a booster.
Boosters are recommended for anyone 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two or more months ago. Boosters are recommended for certain groups of people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines six months or more ago.
Those groups are people 65 years old and older, 18 and older living in long-term care settings, 18 and older suffering from underlying medical conditions, 18 and older living or working in high-risk settings, and 18 and older suffering due to social inequity.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and newly elected state Assemblywoman Mia Bonta also received booster shots Wednesday. Bonta received the Pfizer vaccine earlier this year at the Oakland Coliseum and Wednesday accepted the Moderna vaccine as a booster.
Schaaf and Bonta received their boosters on camera from Asian Health Services chief medical officer Dr. Mychi Nguyen.
“Today, our message is to give Oakland a boost,” Schaaf said.
Ghaly said mixing and matching vaccines is not new. It happens frequently in doctors’ offices, and it is safe, he said.
State officials said boosters, like the original vaccine series, have been scientifically reviewed.
The dosage of the Moderna booster is one-half of the original, while the dosage of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson boosters are the same as the original, Ghaly said.
Anyone with questions about booster shots is urged to talk to their primary care doctor.
Newsom also encouraged residents to keep their guard up now.
“We’ve been humbled by this disease,” he said, while citing current problems with COVID-19 in Great Britain and with breakthrough cases in Israel.
He also said, “We’ve got to be mindful of the winter months,” citing both the sharp rise in the number of cases and positivity rate in the state from October through December last year.
Cases went up sixfold during that time while the positivity rate tripled.