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HomeUSA NewsCalifornia, Colorado, and NM Expand COVID-19 Booster Access

California, Colorado, and NM Expand COVID-19 Booster Access

California, Colorado, and NM Expand COVID-19 Booster Access.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California is among three U.S. states that now allow coronavirus booster shots for all adults, though federal health officials recommend limiting doses to those deemed to be most at risk.

The nation’s most populous state, along with Colorado and New Mexico, instituted its policies to try to avoid a dreaded surge around the end of the year holidays when more people are gathering inside.

Colorado and New Mexico have one of the highest rates of new infections in the country, while California, the lowest in the country earlier this fall, is now joining them at the “high” level of transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disease Control and Prevention.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order on Friday expanding eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots. The acting secretary of his state health department, Dr. David Scrase, said that the increase in the number of cases has overwhelmed some hospitals in New Mexico.

“COVID-19 is incredibly opportunistic and it is our job to ensure that the virus has fewer and fewer opportunities to spread,” said Scrase. “If it’s time for you to put on a brace, do it right away.”

The administration of President Joe Biden had sought the approval of boosters for all adults, but advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration decided in September that it is not clear that healthy young people need another dose. Instead, they recommended boosters only for people 65 and younger with certain underlying health conditions or whose jobs are high-risk for the virus.

In California, state public health official Tomás Aragón sent a letter to local health officials and providers saying they should “allow patients to determine their risk of exposure for themselves.”

“Do not turn away a patient requesting a booster” if they are 18 years of age or older and it has been six months since they received their second Modern or Pfizer vaccine or two months since their only Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he wrote.

He told pharmacies to prioritize boosters for those in a skilled nursing or assisted living facilities due to decreased immunity from previous vaccinations. But in general, providers should “not miss an opportunity” to give vaccinations to the unvaccinated or boosters to everyone else anytime they visit a pharmacy, hospital, or doctor’s office.

Many states are now experiencing an increase in cases and more hospitalizations. Nationwide in the last week, there were about 73,000 new daily cases, about 10,000 more than three weeks ago.

In Colorado, where some hospitals are on edge, Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order Thursday to expand the use of booster injections. A day later, he received a dire warning for about 20% of eligible people in his state who have yet to receive a single dose.

“We wouldn’t even be here talking about this if everyone was vaccinated,” the Democratic governor told a news conference. “If you are not vaccinated, you will receive COVID. Maybe this year, maybe next ”.
Officials in Colorado, California and New Mexico said they have an ample supply of vaccines to provide initial shots and boosters to all who want them.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the Biden administration continues to advise health leaders across the country to “abide by the federal government’s public health guidelines.”

California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said earlier in the week that California’s decision does not conflict with federal guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made it “very clear that they had two categories: groups that should get a boost and groups that could.” he said.

“We know that a number of Californians work in crowded public settings,” Ghaly said. “Because of your work-related risk or even if you live with people who have underlying conditions (and) are at higher risk themselves, or are a member of a community that has been raped and badly hit by COVID… it is permissive on the part of CDC and FDA go ahead and get the booster. ”

Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco, said the drivers have been delayed. That’s concerning as winter approaches and the highly contagious delta variant, which caused a summer spike, continues to circulate.

The delta variant is “really good at finding people, including those who got vaccinated at the beginning of the year and now that vaccination is wearing off a bit,” he said. “Delta is a powerful force and everyone needs that third dose.”

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