By Governor Gavin Newsom
Since the early days of the pandemic, California has been at the forefront of the national fight against COVID-19 through a strong vaccination effort rooted in science and data. This has helped curb transmission of the virus and save countless lives, especially in our most vulnerable communities ? someone's parent or friend, and every one of them a Californian.
We have met people where they were, partnered with local supermarkets, schools, barber shops, and developed media content in more than 19 languages to reach California's highly diverse communities. California's public health measures are working, and much of our success can be attributed to our best tool to end the pandemic: vaccines.
December 14 marks the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccine administered in California. We began by prioritizing vaccinations for our frontline health care workers and vulnerable older adults. Today, after a year of working in partnership with the federal government, local public health and community partners, millions of Californians over the age of 5 are now protected and are helping to protect others against this deadly virus.
We have administered 62 million doses ? more than any other state. 86% of all eligible Californians have received at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 6 million adults have received a booster shot. I am so proud that Californians are literally rolling up their sleeves to help end the pandemic and keep each other safer.
The state has also made tremendous strides in closing gaps in immunization equity among our most vulnerable communities. Thanks to our dynamic partnerships with more than 130 faith-based and 700 community-based organizations, 77 percent of Californians age 12 and older living in our least healthy neighborhoods have received at least one dose. Our work is far from over.
We must continue to observe basic safety tips to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities against COVID-19. This starts with getting fully vaccinated if you have not already done so, and receiving the booster vaccine. Put simply, vaccination can help you avoid serious illness, hospitalization, and death. It's also important to wear mouth covers indoors - especially when we don't know for sure the vaccination status of others - keep gatherings short, small and outdoors if possible, get tested if you've been exposed to the virus, if you have symptoms or plan to travel, and stay home if you don't feel well.
It is especially important for those who are fully vaccinated to receive their booster vaccine. This includes those 16 years and older who received the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago, those 18 years and older who received the Moderna vaccine at least six months ago, and those 18 years and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago. It is critical that we keep our immunity strong, not only for ourselves, but for our communities. Even with the emergence of the Omicron variant, Californians have every reason to remain hopeful because our state continues to move in the right direction.
I want to end this article on a personal note to every Californian. Californians have met every challenge with vigor and courage, and together we will continue to be at the forefront of the nation's fight against COVID-19. I wish you all a very happy holiday season with sincere wishes for a happy, safer and brighter New Year ahead.
For the latest information about the Omicron variant see CDPH.ca.gov and to find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster dose, please visit MyTurn.ca.gov. To find a COVID-19 testing site, call (833) 422-4255 or visit your county's public health website.
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