State public health officials urged families to get vaccinated against COVID-19 this week as part of a “week of action” prior to Thanksgiving and other holidays that include large gatherings.
With everyone in the state ages 5 and up now eligible for the vaccine, and with all adults now encouraged to get a booster vaccine dose, the California Department of Public Health said that it plans to conduct outreach efforts and host vaccination clinics across the state throughout the week.
As part of the agency’s vaccination outreach, the CDPH also launched new public service announcements this week featuring state Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris and Los Angeles Dr. Ilan Shapiro.
CDPH officials said the agency also plans to continue its partnerships with ethnic media outlets and community-based organizations in an effort to address vaccine hesitancy and “reach California’s diverse communities.”
State officials are attempting to hedge against a winter wave of cases similar to last winter as people are more likely to gather indoors during the holidays.
State officials have warned that COVID-19 in addition to the flu could lead to a deadly winter, particularly among the unvaccinated and vaccinated people in high-risk groups such as those over age 65 and people who have weakened immune systems.
“By fully vaccinating every eligible Californian and providing boosters to those who are eligible, we can protect ourselves and our friends and family by keeping our immunity against COVID-19 strong heading into the winter months and holidays,” state Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Tomas Aragon said in a statement.
Adults in the state are encouraged to get a booster vaccine dose if it has been at least six months since their second vaccine dose or at least two months since their single Johnson & Johnson shot.
Some demographics are also being prioritized for boosters, including J&J recipients, people over age 65 and people with underlying medical conditions.
While the three available vaccines remain highly effective at preventing serious COVID-19 illness and death, public health officials at all levels have argued that their protection begins to wane after several months, and that preemptively boosting the immune responses will maximize protection against existing and potential variants of the virus, which could become more contagious and even circumvent vaccine protections.
“All eligible individuals are encouraged to get a booster to protect themselves, their family and to celebrate the holidays together safely,” the CDPH said.
As of Wednesday, more than 30 million California residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, roughly 76.8 percent of the state’s total population, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
State residents can find information on how to get vaccinated against both COVID-19 and the flu via their local public health department or the state’s vaccination scheduling website at https://myturn.ca.gov.
Vaccination information can also be found by contacting the state at (833) 422-4255.