California will require health care workers to get a Covid-19 booster in order to be fully vaccinated, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.
“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,” Newsom tweeted late Tuesday afternoon.
The announcement came as federal officials revealed Monday that the highly transmissible Omicron variant accounted for 73 percent of all new infections last week. Infections and deaths among unvaccinated people continue to vastly outpace those of vaccinated people.
Meanwhile, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced Tuesday a plan to mandate the Covid-19 booster for those who work for the city or enter city-owned facilities. San Jose would be the first city in California to require boosters.
“We lack the benefit of time, and we need to move quickly,” Liccardo said in a press briefing Tuesday.
Newsom is planning to reveal more details about the health care worker requirement at a press event Wednesday in Alameda County. Liccardo’s proposal will be heard by the city of San Jose’s rules committee Jan. 5.
Liccardo has directed the city manager to work with employees’ bargaining units to enact the booster requirement in January by redefining fully vaccinated to include the booster shot. San Jose already requires proof of full vaccination to enter all city-owned facilities, so the updated mandate would require people to show proof of a booster shot or third dose of vaccine.
A growing number of state and local officials are requiring boosters. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) earlier this month amended the state’s vaccine order to require workers covered by the state’s existing mandate to receive a booster shot by Jan. 17, or within four weeks of becoming eligible for it.
University of California officials on Tuesday said eligible staff and students will have to get the booster shot before the beginning of the winter quarter or spring semester in order to be considered fully vaccinated.