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MyTurn now scheduling boosters for all adults

By JohnWoolfolk

California’s MyTurn COVID-19 online vaccine scheduler has caught up with the state’s policy from last week and now is booking booster shots for adults without asking that they declare they meet age, health, occupation or residential criteria that would put them at greater risk from the virus.

Visitors to MyTurn. gov can simply state they are at least 18 and at least six months past their last Pfizer orModerna dose or two months past their Johnson & Johnson shot to schedule a booster.

California last week became the first of several states and local governments now to open booster eligibility for those who had received the most widely given vaccines by Pfizer andModerna beyond the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s risk criteria. Santa Clara County last week also expanded eligibility and promptly reflected the changes online.

But a week after the state sent out notices of its booster policy shift, My-Turn still required those who had Pfizer or Moderna who wanted to schedule booster appointments to declare themselves meeting the high-risk qualifications.

The CDC currently says those vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna six months or more ago only need a booster if they are 65 years or older or 18 or older and either have underlying medical conditions or work or live in high-risk settings, including long-term care.

Though state officials argued all adults could justifiably claim to be at high risk — California is in the CDC’s high-risk category for transmission of the virus — many people who didn’t clearly meet the CDC’s criteria weren’t comfortable declaring that.

Major national pharmacies, however, like Rite Aid andCVS, still require those seeking appointments online to declare they meet the CDC’s eligibility criteria. The stores said they are required as participants in the federal pharmacy program to follow CDC guidelines.

Those guidelines could change soon however. The FDA is reviewing a request by Pfizer to make its vaccine available for all adults, not just those at high risk, citing evidence of waning protection after six months. Moderna also is seeking approval. The CDC’s expert vaccine advisory panel meets today and is expected to consider the matter.

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