California will require health care workers to get booster shots by Feb. 1, officials announced on Wednesday, as part of a series of measures intended to stave off hospital staffing shortfalls and to keep schools open despite the unsettlingly rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The state will also require workers in high-risk congregate settings like nursing homes and prisons to get booster shots.
Public health officials said the Feb. 1 deadline applies to workers who are eligible for booster shots under federal guidelines because it has been six months since they received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, or two months since they received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. People who were vaccinated more recently will be required to get a booster within 15 days of becoming eligible.
California officials also announced plans to provide one or two rapid tests for each elementary or secondary school student for use when the children return to school from winter break; to broadly expand testing-site hours; to deploy hundreds of additional workers to strained health care facilities; and to aggressively promote booster shots.
the first in the nation to find a case of the Omicron variant in their state, the variant was quickly
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