On Oct. 27, Gov. Gavin Newsom held a press conference after receiving a Moderna booster shot to augment the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine he took in April.
The governor said he deliberately opted for a different vaccine as a booster to emphasize the Centers of Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance that it is safe for people to mix and match vaccines.
The governor encouraged eligible Californians to get their booster shots as well, warning that initial COVID-19 shots required to be designated “fully vaccinated” might not be enough to inoculate individuals who are at a higher risk of getting the disease.
“Any state vision has to be realized at the local level. Localism is determinative,” Gov. Newsom said, thanking Alameda County public health officials and workers, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan and Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) for their leadership in spearheading the vaccination of 84 % of all people in their county. Newsom was speaking at Asian Health Services, a community clinic in Oakland.
The governor also thanked Bonta for working to make sure the state is “supporting these efforts not only advance the cause of getting more of the unvaccinated vaccinated, but now the cause that unites us here today, and that is encouraging more boosters so that we can address the legitimate concerns of waning immunity,” Newsom said.
The governor pointed out that he is not just promoting boosters. He is also pushing a message of “caution” because of what he anticipates might happen this winter based on a spike in COVID cases around this same time last year.
“On the 24th of October, we had about six thousand cases. One month later, we had 18,000 cases. A month after that, we had 54,000 cases – basically a tripling of cases every month. That was last year,” he said. “And we all remember what occurred last winter in December and January.”
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, immunity against COVID-19 drops to as low as 20% four months after the second vaccine dose.
On Oct. 21, the CDC expanded eligibility for the Pfizer and Moderna booster shots for those 65 years and older, 18 years and older who live in long-term care settings, 18 years and older who have underlying medical conditions, and 18 years and older who work or live in high-risk settings.
The California Health and Human Services Agency echoed the governor’s push for booster shots on Twitter.
“Get boosted, CA! #COVID19 vaccine boosters will help keep our immunities strong and our families safer. Find out if you’re eligible & get yours today,” the tweet read.
Newsom offered words of encouragement to Californians who he says might be weary of living with COVID restrictions.
“We’ll get through this. We’re making progress. We’re turning the corner but let’s get these boosters, let’s continue to be vigilant, let’s continue to reach out to those maybe on the fence, maybe hesitant about getting a vaccine, and encourage them to get a vaccine,” Newsom said.
More than 80 % of Californians who are eligible to take the COVID vaccine have received at least one shot, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Bonta, who replaced her husband Attorney General Rob Bonta in the California Legislature, is a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus. She took a booster shot with the governor.
“When we talk about being a resilient community, it requires resilient action,” said Bonta. “The simplest thing we can do right now is to go to our trusted providers to ensure we are getting our boosters. As we consider taking care of our communities, it requires every individual to act with resilience.”
To check eligibility or make an appointment for a COVID shot, visit MyTurn.CA.gov
California Black Media’s coverage of COVID-19 is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.