California Rolls Out Covid Booster With Little Fanfare

California Rolls Out Covid Booster With Little Fanfare

SAN FRANCISCO — Gone are the days when Gov. Gavin Newsom crisscrossed the state urging Californians to roll up their sleeves for their Covid shots. Routine checks of vaccination cards to enter restaurants are a thing of the past. In downtown San Francisco, the Moscone Center, once the site of a mass vaccination clinic, has long since reverted to a convention center.

Newly formulated Covid booster shots are now available to those 12 and older, tailored to protect against both the original version of the virus and the Omicron variant. But the distribution of the new shots in California, as in much of the rest of the country, has come with little fanfare.

This quiet rollout may be an acknowledgment of how many people have moved on from the pandemic as Covid cases wane and are unlikely to be receptive to another stentorian campaign, even in the vaccine-friendly Golden State, said Bob Wachter, the chair of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I think that there’s a little bit less oomph being put into this particular campaign than there was,” Wachter told me.

Still, plenty of people have gotten the new booster shot already. California’s public health department said it had received 2.8 million doses of the new vaccine so far, and had administered about 618,000 since Sept. 6, when it first became available.

The new shots target the Omicron subvariant BA.5, the dominant version of the virus, and are viewed by scientists as a way to guard against a surge of cases expected this winter. Experts say the boosters will offer improved protection against breakthrough infections.

In San Francisco, one of the most vaccinated parts of California, hundreds of people eagerly lined up outside doctor’s offices and clinics last week.

“I’m very pro-vaccine,” Deborah James said as she left a Kaiser clinic after getting her shot. “I think people should be protected, if they can be.”

This early in the rollout, residents seemed to be split into two camps: Those who closely follow the news, knew about the booster and were excited for the protection it offered; and those who no longer think about the pandemic and didn’t know there was a new vaccine.

In the Mission District of San Francisco, Jacqueline Guerra, 24, said she had no plans to get the bivalent booster. She got the initial Johnson and Johnson vaccine and has had Covid, but did not get the booster offered last year. She said she was concerned about what was in the vaccine and whether it could harm her 1-year-old baby, Jericoh, who is still breastfeeding.

Guerra, who works at Foot Locker, said there was only one reason she might get boosted. “If my job says that it’s mandatory, then yes, I will get it,” she said.

Wachter said he had witnessed plenty of vaccine fatigue over the last two years. The constantly shifting vaccine mandates, mask guidelines and evolving virus may have caused many people to throw up their hands, he said.

“I can completely get a person saying: ‘You know what, this is too hard. I would just rather get back to normal and let the chips fall where they fall,’” he said, adding that it was still worth getting the newest round of boosters, especially to protect against the risk of long Covid.

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Today’s tip comes from Joel Stevenson, who recommends the Suisun Marsh, California’s largest brackish marsh:

“Kayaking or paddle boarding through the channels and ponds I’ve experienced some truly peaceful moments: watching a family of otters frolic and chase each other outside their watery den, sleepy barn owls blinking down from the rafters of abandoned boat-sheds, large fish brushing the surface of lazy waters, birds of every kind from great swooping murmurations of songbirds to gleaming egrets and stately herons to the soar and cry of hawk and osprey. There the reeds and blackberry bushes grow with exuberant vigor amid splashes of short-lived but ever-present flowers.

Underlying it all is the quiet. In our otherwise busy world of traffic and hurry the quiet feels almost preternatural but of course it is the very essence of nature. Once the initial strangeness of that quiet passes you start to notice its many layers: wind blowing across the water, dandling leafy branches, choirs of unseen insects, the hum of the world, so low you feel it rather than hear it. It is a wonderful place and I feel fortunate to visit it each time.

Leave the hurry and go!”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

It’s almost fall. What do you love about the season in California? What are the best fall activities in your corner of the state?

Email us at with your stories, memories and recommendations.

While growing up in Berkeley, Jasmine Guillory thought her destiny was a career in law. She graduated from Stanford Law School, then clerked for a federal judge and worked at a high-paying big law firm before moving on to legal aid and nonprofit work. Still, something was missing.

She decided to try writing. In April 2015, she joined an online writers’ challenge that prompts fledgling novelists to commit to writing 50,000 words in one month. She spent every spare moment getting words on the page. “I looked forward every day to coming home from work and sitting on the couch and writing,” she said. She hit the 50,000 mark, then kept going.

By June she had a draft of “The Wedding Date,” a flirty, funny romance novel. Upon its release in 2018, the book got glowing reviews. Later that year, her second novel spent five weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.

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