Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraged the state's adults Monday to get a COVID-19 booster vaccine if they are eligible now that state and federal officials have lifted most requirements for getting a booster.
Nearly 5 million state residents have received a booster, according to Newsom, including 58 percent of the 1.4 million people who received a vaccine dose last week.
In total, 91.3 percent of adults across the state have received at least one vaccine dose, which Newsom credited along with precautions like the use of masks for helping the state reduce its COVID cases over the last two weeks.
"We saw, a few weeks ago, some troubling signs with case rates going up, (test) positivity rates going up, hospitalizations and (intensive care unit admissions) going up," Newsom said Monday, during a briefing at a vaccination site in San Francisco's Mission District.
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"That said, in the last 10 or 11 days, we've seen some stability, some good signs ... in fact, today we lay claim to having the lowest positivity rate in the United States of America -- 1.9 percent," Newsom said.
Adults in the state are encouraged to get a booster vaccine dose if it has been at least six months since their second vaccine dose or at least two months since their single Johnson & Johnson shot.
Some demographics are also being prioritized for boosters, including J&J recipients, people over age 65 and people with underlying medical conditions.
While the three available vaccines remain highly effective at preventing serious COVID-19 illness and death, public health officials at all levels have argued that their protection begins to wane after several months, and that preemptively boosting the immune responses will maximize protection against existing and potential variants of the virus, which could become more contagious and even circumvent vaccine protections.
Newsom noted that only about 17 percent of the state's booster doses have been administered to Latino residents and argued that the state must do more to ensure that hard-to-reach and disadvantaged communities are included in booster vaccination efforts. Latinos make up about 39 percent of the state's population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In the past, the state has launched a series of public service announcements on the safety and efficacy of the available vaccines and partnered with ethnic media outlets and community-based organizations to address vaccine hesitancy.
"There is no substitute for meeting people where they are -- knocking on doors, quite literally going into communities, not asking people to come to a (vaccination) location but going to them," Newsom said.
State residents can find information on how to get vaccinated against COVID-19 via their local public health department or the state's vaccination scheduling website at https://myturn.ca.gov.
Vaccination information can also be found by contacting the state at (833) 422-4255.