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California Health and Human Services Leaders Issue Statement on Updated Vaccine Eligibility for Children 6 Months and Older

December 9, 2022

SACRAMENTO – Today, California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, and Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, issued a joint statement on the emergency use authorization of the updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines in the United States for children as young as 6 months of age. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends updated bivalent vaccines for persons 6 months and older.

"Staying up to date on vaccinations is critical to maximizing our protection against COVID-19, which is on the rise in California, along with other respiratory viruses. Vaccines help reduce severe illness, and we're encouraged that our youngest Californians are now eligible for this protection.

"Rates of emergency room visits and hospitalizations increased dramatically for infants and toddlers 6 months through 4 years as a result of Omicron variants, and our pediatric hospitals and clinics are under significant strain from multiple respiratory viruses including COVID-19, flu, and RSV. We can help protect our youngest children from severe respiratory illness caused by COVID-19 by getting them vaccinated now to give their bodies time before the holidays to boost their immunity. We strongly encourage parents to talk to their healthcare provider or go to their local clinic with any questions to ensure their children have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines."

Children 6 months through 5 years of age who have received two doses of the monovalent (primary series) Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines should get an updated dose at least 2 months after their second dose. For immunocompromised children, parents should consult with their child's healthcare provider. For more information, use the CDC Booster Tool.

The state is prepared to begin offering the updated COVID-19 vaccine to all eligible children 6 months through 5 years as soon as next week. Find a vaccine near you at MyTurn or call 833-422-4255.

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