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A pharmacist fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccination at a booster shot clinic in San Rafael, Calif. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California, Colorado and New Mexico this week have expanded COVID-19 booster access to all adults.

Why it matters: Federal officials have recommended largely limiting the doses to people who are 65 and older, have underlying health conditions or work in high-risk environments.

  • All adults who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can get a booster two months after their first shot.

Driving the news: California, Colorado and New Mexico have all seen high rates of COVID transmission in recent weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • New Mexico and Colorado's governors signed executive orders expanding eligibility for boosters this week. Rising case numbers have overwhelmed their hospitals, according to AP.
  • In California, the country's most populous state, state public health officer Tomás Aragón has instructed health officials not to turn away anyone who requests a booster as long as they are 18 or older and have waited the appropriate time between the initial shots and the booster.
    • Providers should prioritize those in skilled nursing or assisted living facilities but "should not miss any opportunity" to offer boosters to others, Aragón said.

What they're saying: "We wouldn't even be here talking about this if everyone was vaccinated," Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said at a news conference. "If you are not vaccinated, you're going to get COVID. Maybe this year, maybe next year."

  • David Scrase, New Mexico's department of health acting secretary, called COVID "incredibly opportunistic," per AP. It's "our job to ensure that the virus has fewer and fewer opportunities to spread.”

Go deeper

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
16 hours ago - Health

Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says

A health care worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine to a child at a Salvation Army vaccination clinic in Philadelphia on Nov. 12. Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pfizer could have data on COVID-19 vaccine efficacy for children under five by the end of the year, CEO Albert Bourla said on Friday in an interview with NBC News.

Why it matters: Omicron has raised concerns that young children are becoming more vulnerable to the virus. Tshwane, the epicenter of South Africa's Omicron outbreak, has seen a high number of hospital admissions for children under two in the last few weeks, though scientists have not confirmed a link to the variant, Reuters reports.

Omicron variant found in Philadelphia man

A technician handles tubes containing swab samples for COVID-19. Photo: Ahmad Salem/Getty Images

A Northwest Philadelphia resident has tested positive for the Omicron variant, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced Friday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case of the new coronavirus variant involves a man in his 30s, the department said.

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