California Gov. Newsom Mandates Booster Shots for Health Care Workers

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
December 21, 2021 Updated: December 21, 2021

California will require health care workers to receive COVID-19 booster shots in order to retain their fully vaccinated status, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday.

“California will require healthcare workers to get their booster,” Newsom said on Twitter. “With Omicron on the rise, we’re taking immediate actions to protect Californians and ensure our hospitals are prepared.”

“Omicron is spreading rapidly and we must do all we can to keep staff at hospitals and medical facilities healthy and safe to protect Californians during a potential winter surge,” his office further said.

The Democratic governor said more details of the requirement would be released on Wednesday. Newsom has scheduled a news conference in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Epoch Times has contacted Newsom’s office for comment.

The state is poised for a surge in new infections amid holiday parties and family gatherings forced indoors by a series of winter storms.

Last week, Newsom, who imposed the first statewide shutdown order in March 2020, warned that cases would likely rise and re-imposed a rule requiring everyone to wear masks at public indoor gatherings. Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest city, once again canceled its in-person New Year’s Eve celebration.

The governor’s announcement came shortly after federal officials said the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus is now the dominant source of new infections in the United States, accounting for roughly 73 percent of new infections nationwide, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health officials cited CDC figures for the week ending Dec. 18 that showed a nearly six-fold increase in Omicron’s share of infections in only one week.

The variant was first detected by doctors in Africa first less than a month ago, and on Nov. 26, the World Health Organization designated it as a “variant of concern.” The variant has since been reported in around 90 countries.

Few Omicron-related deaths have been officially confirmed so far worldwide. Officials on Monday said an unvaccinated man in Texas died after contracting the Omicron variant of COVID-19. It’s not clear if any other Omicron-related deaths have been reported in the United States.

Meanwhile, New York City’s health director said that while Omicron cases are rising quickly, hospitalizations are not at this time.

South African ministry of health officials last week said that their rates of hospitalization due to Omicron are about one-tenth of the hospitalization rate for the Delta wave earlier this year.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Tuesday that he didn’t anticipate another lockdown because “I think we’re so much better protected than we were.”

However, he said he believes restrictions such as masking indoors will continue into February and perhaps even March, depending on vaccination, hospitalization, and infection rates.

New Mexico has also mandated booster shots for health care workers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.