California expands booster shot eligibility despite current CDC recommendations

KEARNY MESA (KUSI) – Booster shot confusion is the latest hurdle for health officials fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The state of California is expanding eligibility for boosters to every fully-vaccinated adult ahead of the CDC and FDA’s recommendations.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Christian Ramers said the timing of the decision comes as California sees one of the nation’s largest increases of new COVID-19 cases.

“They are looking at the calendar, we actually have more cases now than we did this time last year, and heading into the holidays, that’s kind of concerning,” Dr. Ramers said. “California is not alone, New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas and New York are all jumping ahead of the CDC and saying every adult should have boosters.”

We reached out to the County Operations team about their preparation for an increase of demand. They said they are complying with California’s eligibility expansion, writing:

“Anyone 18 and older who is at least 6 months out from their second Moderna or Pfizer is eligible for a booster. Anyone 18 and older who is two months out from their J and J vaccination is eligible for a booster.”

As of Tuesday, 344,495 COVID-19 boosters had been administered to San Diego County residents.

One of the six county operated vaccination clinics located off Overland Avenue on Wednesday saw large lines of people trying to get their shot. Despite the booster expansion, the capacity is still adjusting to the demand. San Diego resident Kelli Wind said she heard the Overland Avenue location accepted walk-up appointments until 3:30 p.m.

“Yeah, I was here to get my booster, trying to be proactive and all that, seeing my family and unfortunately they turned me away,” Wind said. “They didn’t give me a reason, but I am going to the next spot that says they are accepting walk-ups.”

The clinic told me they have a certain capacity they can meet each day for those without appointments and when it gets close to closing time, they may have to turn some people away. Dr. Ramers said this issue is different than supply shortages.

“We are flush with vaccines, not only for primary series— but for boosters as well, and pediatric vaccines,” Ramers said. “But keep in mind, last year we had Petco Park, we had mass vaccination sites, and we’re just not going to have that this time.”

The logistical bottleneck will be seen in administering the booster shots as people plan to gather ahead of the holidays, but will people be fully protected with Thanksgiving a week away?

“I’m glad you brought up the timing because booster shots really don’t give you the protection for about a week or so and Thanksgiving is about a week away so you can get full protection by the time you meet with your family,” Ramers said.

As for the best way to schedule vaccine appointment for a booster or first dose, visit: https://myturn.ca.gov/

KUSI’s Hunter Sowards was live in Kearny Mesa with more clarification on booster shots.

Categories: California News, Coronavirus, Good Evening San Diego, Local San Diego News