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Joint Statement from California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly and California Department of Public Health Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón

Date: September 17, 2021
Number: NR21-280

SACRAMENTO – "Today, the U.S Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee underscored the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. The research continues to clearly demonstrates how effective the COVID-19 vaccines are in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant.

"The committee of experts reinforced the importance of unvaccinated individuals getting vaccinated as soon as possible to protect both themselves and their loved ones. California's success in suppressing the spread of the Delta variant is directly attributed to getting Californians vaccinated. We must double down on our efforts to ensure that all Californians who are eligible get vaccinated in order for us to collectively move beyond the pandemic.

"The committee recommended authorizing booster vaccines for those over the age of 65 or at high risk of severe disease. This recommendation today is the first step in a long-established, multi-step process that CDPH and our federal partners follow for every COVID-19 vaccine decision. The next step is for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to convene next week and make recommendations to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup will also convene and make its recommendations. ACIP and Western States Workgroup will review the data and make formal recommendations on boosters to be administered in California.

"Data have always led California's COVID-19 response, and we will continue to monitor the data and the science closely to determine who will need a booster dose and when. We, along with our local and community partners, have been actively preparing for the possibility of administering booster doses and will be ready to administer immediately if approved."

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