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​CDPH Recommends All Californians Stay Up to Date on COVID-19 Vaccine​​​

Date: September 12, 2023
Number: NR23-027
Contact: Media@cdph.ca.gov

COVID-19 Vaccines C​ontinue to Provide Best Protection Against Severe Illness, Hospitalization, and Death

What You Need to Know​ 

The California Department of Public Health recommends all Californians stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 vaccine.

Sacramento– Following federal approval of the updated COVID-19 vaccine and recommendations for the upcoming winter respiratory virus season, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is recommending all Californians stay up to date on the vaccine and get the updated shot when available.

For renewed protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death, all Californians 5 years and older should receive one dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine, as long as it’s been 2 months or more since their most recent dose. Getting vaccinated may also minimize your symptoms if you do become infected so you can return to your daily activities more quickly. Recommendations for younger children depend on the number of doses received previously.

CDPH strongly urges vaccination for individuals who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 due to advanced age or underlying illness as this is the group of individuals most vulnerable to severe disease and the worst outcomes.

“Staying up to date on the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to keep your immunity strong and protect yourself and others from severe illness, hospitalization, and death,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón. “As we enter the winter season, it is crucial that all individuals remain up to date with vaccinations when they’re eligible, including flu, COVID-19 and RSV.”

Who Should Get Vaccinated

  • Everyone Age 5 and Up: Everyone 5 years of age and older, regardless of previous vaccination, is eligible to receive a single dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine as long as it’​​s been at least 2 months since the last dose.
  • Younger Children and Infants: Infants and younger children, 6 months through 4 years of age, who have previously been vaccinated against COVID-19 are eligible to receive one or two doses of the updated vaccine. The timing and number of doses depends on the previous COVID-19 vaccine received.
  • Unvaccinated Younger Children and Infants: Unvaccinated infants and younger children, 6 months through 4 years of age, are eligible to receive three doses of the updated Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or two doses of the updated Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

When and How to Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine

 Initial supplies of updated COVID-19 vaccine are expected in California in the coming weeks. For added convenience, COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccines can all be administered in the same visit. Schedule a vaccine appointment by visiting MyTurn.ca.gov or contacting your local pharmacy or health care provider.

How to Pay for a COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be free for most people through their health insurance plans, including Medi-Cal and regular health care providers.

The CDC’s Bridge Access Program will provide limited quantities of COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured and underinsured adults through December 2024. The Vaccines For Chil​dren (VFC) program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children (18 and younger) who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay.

CDPH’s Virus Prevention Tips

The best defense against COVID-19 and other winter viruses starts with good prevention. Follow these five tips to protect yourself and others:

  • Stay Up to Date on Vaccines: Vaccines reduce the chances of infection and are the best defense to limit severe illness and death. COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccines will all be available for this winter season.
  • Stay Home if You’re Sick, Test for COVID and Treat if Needed: Staying home when you’re sick slows the spread of COVID-19, flu, RSV, and even the common cold. If you have symptoms, test for COVID-19 and contact your doctor immediately to seek treatment. Treatments work best when started right after symptoms begin.
  • Consider Wearing a Mask in Indoor Public Places: Wearing a mask significantly reduces the spread of respiratory viruses, especially in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wash Your Hands: Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water, for at least 20 seconds, is an easy and very effective way to prevent getting sick and spreading germs.
  • ​Cover Your Cough or Sneeze: Remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow, your arm, or a disposable tissue to help prevent the spread of winter viruses. Wash or sanitize your hands and dispose of your tissue after.
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