California offering COVID-19 booster shots to those 65 and older, others at high risk

California is now offering COVID-19 booster shots for those over the age of 65 as well as high-risk individuals following news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for boosters in those two groups.

Governor Gavin Newsom Thursday released a COVID-19 Vaccine Action Plan that outlines how the state will be able to immediately begin administering doses to eligible Californians, continue our equity-centered focus on eligible but unvaccinated individuals, and expand operations once more Californians are eligible.

"California continues to lead the nation in both vaccines administered and low case rates. Vaccines work. They are safe, effective, and are how we end this pandemic," said Governor Newsom. "We fully support our federal partners’ determination to provide boosters, and California has built the necessary infrastructure to mobilize such vaccine distribution – all to help protect the health and well-being of Californians."

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According to state officials, California's platform is ready to launch its booster eligibility screener and appointment finder to connect Californians to walk-in vaccine locations and appointments near them. The site will also send text message alerts to Californians when eligible for a booster to ensure people know their options. The MyCAVax vaccine ordering tool is updated to allow providers to order the supply they need to meet the expected demand for these additional doses. 

"California is fortunate to have enough supply of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and is ready to get doses to the providers that need them," state officials wrote in a press release Thursday.

"California’s top priority remains to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible, with vaccines being key to ending this pandemic," said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. "Along with boosting protection to those that need it and proactively reaching out to newly eligible individuals, the state will continue to focus much of our vaccination efforts on reaching the unvaccinated and encouraging them to get vaccinated to keep themselves and their community safe."

On Wednesday, the FDA agreed with a government advisory panel and approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster for those over the age of 65 and individuals who run a high risk of severe disease.

RELATED: FDA approves Pfizer booster for 65 and older, others at high risk

The booster is also approved for "individuals 18 through 64 years of age whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19."

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