BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Wednesday Governor Gavin Newsom visited a clinic in Bakersfield to receive his second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. He is also encouraging eligible Californians to keep their immunity strong.
As of Wednesday, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says over 204,000 Californias have received their COVID-19 booster shot. But as COVID-19 cases are rising within Kern County and throughout the state, Governor Newsom and Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly are reminding the community about the effective tool to fight the spread of the virus.
“They work. They’re effective. They save lives. They mitigate the impacts of this virus," said Newsom of the COVID-19 booster shots. "Even if you feel like you can weather being really sick, why wouldn’t you do something prophylactically to mitigate that impact? That is what these vaccines do and have certainly done.”
Governor Newsom adds that although the number of people in the hospital with the virus is much lower than during the height of the pandemic, the state is starting to see the number of hospitalization and ICU rates rise back up. However, Governor Newsom says it is nothing to be alarmed about at this moment.
“We have a plan. A smarter plan to put out an endemic plan as we turned the page from the pandemic to endemic. A plan that lays out strategies in areas of concentrated focus and obviously this is one of the key areas.”
Dr. Ghaly says that a second booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is recommended to all Californians 50 years of age and older, and those who are immunocompromised. However, the CDC says that people who have received 2 doses of the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine are also eligible
It is important to note that the Food and Drug Administration is limiting the emergency use authorization of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to people 18 and older due to the risk of rare but dangerous blood clots.
“It's not a prohibition against getting it, it's just recommended for those who are more likely based on age or underlying conditions to experience severe disease if they were to become infected,” explained Dr. Ghaly.
And for people who might have contracted the virus and are still concerned about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 booster shot, Dr. Ghaly says that it remains one of the vital tools to weather the storm of the virus.
“Even those who get COVID and are at risk for severe disease if you get tested early, you get on to treatment, you keep your immunity up, that there is a great likelihood that you won't get severe disease. That you won't end up in the hospital. You won't end up with some of the worst outcomes including death.”
The current recommendation for those who are eligible for their second dose of the COVID-19 booster shot is four months from your previous dose.
The CDC says that COVID-19 vaccine booster shots can further enhance or restore protection that might have decreased over time after your initial dose. And that is why it is so important to stay up to date with getting your booster shots in the correct time period.
During the recent omicron surge, those who were boosted were 21-times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were unvaccinated, and 7-times less likely to be hospitalized.
Although there isn’t an authorized COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 5 Dr. Ghaly says it's likely to be approved soon.
“You know we're getting signals of the FDA maybe sometime next month is going to look at both the Moderna and the Pfizer submissions for approval of the under 5 vaccine and at that point we’re optimistic that we're going to see it being available to those youngest kids hopefully in time for them to get it before they return to the fall in the school year.”
Dr. Ghaly says that they are taking every step to publicize the benefits of these vaccines and make sure that they are widely available for everyone. He adds that although there isn’t a specific end date for this virus the state has every tool necessary to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.