OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Governor Gavin Newsom received a COVID booster shot from the state's top health official at a press event to highlight the state's ongoing vaccination push.
Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mark Ghaly gave Newsom the booster shot at the Asian Health Center in Oakland's Chinatown Wednesday morning. Both came to the center to urge people to get vaccinated and to get a booster shot to extend their vaccine protection.
The governor noted that while he originally received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he was getting a Moderna booster to demonstrate the safety of mixing and matching vaccines and boosters. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week it was okay for people to receive a booster shot that was different from their original vaccination.
Newsom told assembled reporters the message is more urgent as the winter months approach, and added he had also gotten a standard flu shot which health experts say can be safely taken concurrently with the COVID vaccine.
"I want folks to understand why this is more important than it may appear, we're not just here to promote boosters in an abstract, we're here to promote caution and the imperative of considerating getting boosters particularly if you're in these categories with these underlying conditions or your vulnerable populations 65 and over and the like, because of what we anticipate happening this winter."
The governor's visit comes a day after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel voted to back Pfizer's request to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for Americans as young as 5 years old.
Final approval is expected from the Centers for Disease Control as early as next week, and many states expect vaccines could be in the arms of children shortly after.
The vote paves the path for 28 million American kids to get vaccinated as early as next week.
"I'm hoping that this is kind of the final frontier of when we go back to normal life," said University of California San Francisco Prof. of Medicine Dr. Monica Gandhi. "It's kind of a ticket to normalcy."
"I want to be sober about the moment we are in because in many ways it is reminiscent of where were last year," said Newsom. "I want to acknowledge the progress we have made because we should. I want to thank 40 million Californians for their resilience and for allowing us the privilege of maintaining the lowest case rate -- one of two -- first or second lowest case rate in the United States for now well over a few months.
"To continue to lead the nation in terms of modest transmission rate, to continue to have among the lowest positivity rates -- 2.2 percent today...It's also a stubborn fact that at this time last year, we were at a 3.3 percent positivity. Today we chronicled about 4,000 new cases. Last year to date about 6,000."
California says it has administered more COVID vaccines than any other state – some 53 million doses – while implementing first-in-the-nation measures such as mandating vaccinations for students attending in-person classes and workers in health care settings.
The state also requires all school staff and state workers either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week.
Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has received full federal approval, and only among people age 16 and up, while children ages 12-15 remain eligible under emergency authorization.
In announcing the requirement earlier this month, Newsom said it will take effect at the beginning of the school term following the vaccine's full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and estimated that could be either Jan. 1 or July 1, 2022.
On Wednesday, Ghaly said the latter appears more likely.
"We don't have any more clarity on when the full FDA approval will be as we inch closer to the end of this year," he said. "And given the period of time that's required, it is looking like full approval may not happen in this calendar year.
Joceyln Moran contributed to this report.
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