As of Thursday, everyone 18 and older can use MyTurn to book an appointment to get a booster shot if six months have passed since getting the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or at least two months if they got Johnson & Johnson.
Once a user selects that they wish to get the booster dose, the website only asks for their age and how long it’s been since getting the last dose.
Previously, as state officials were telling all residents to get the boosters, MyTurn was still asking anyone who is making an appointment for a booster shot whether they fall into one of the eligibility requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which included being 65 years old or older, having underlying medical conditions, or working or living in high-risk settings.
This created confusion for residents who were trying to get boosters to shore up their protection from COVID-19 following calls from state officials.
The update to the state’s appointment website came after the California state health officer Dr. Tómas Aragón last week sent a letter to vaccine providers throughout the state, telling them: “Do not turn a patient away who is requesting a booster.”
“Allow patients to self-determine their risk of exposure,” Aragón writes.
Los Angeles County Health Director Barbara Ferrer explained that the county has always been letting people decide on their own if they need boosters, and believes that it’s still aligned with the CDC.
“In our county, we’ve been saying all along, that we read the CDC guidance to really allow for individual people to assess their own risk,” Ferrer said during a media briefing last week.
“That risk includes being in communities that were very hard hit, where we’re seeing high numbers of cases — which at this point is all over L.A. County,” Ferrer added.
On Tuesday, the California Department of Public Health updated its guidance on boosters, clarifying that the boosters are available to all adults once the appropriate time has passed since getting previous shots.
Now, L.A. County’s vaccine website says boosters are “recommended” for everyone 18 and older and “strongly recommended” for people who are 65 and older, have underlying health conditions or are at risk of exposure at work or in the community.
County and state health officials have been urging residents to get the boosters in preparation for a potential winter surge as the weather cools, people gather indoors and vaccine effectiveness wanes.
While boosters are meant to strengthen immunity against the coronavirus, all the vaccines still offer strong protection against hospitalizations and death.
Booster doses are not required to be considered fully vaccinated.