Boosters Now Mandated for Vaccinated Health Care Workers

This post has been archived and contains information that may be out of date.

Throughout the world, public health officials are attempting to contain the rapid spread of the new COVID-19 variant, omicron. California is facing extraordinary levels of omicron spread — last week, California had 5,400 diagnosed cases of the variant; as of yesterday, that jumped to 11,000 diagnosed cases. Similarly, the test positivity rate in California for omicron has increased from 2.3% last week to 3.3% as of Dec. 22. 

In the face of this significant growth, on Dec. 22 the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a new public health order on vaccinations. The Dec. 22 state public health order builds on the Aug. 5 health order and includes important changes around booster shots for vaccinated health care workers.  

In summary, the Dec. 22 public health order: 

  • Requires all health care workers, including volunteers, to receive a booster when eligible (see below for more detail). 
  • Requires twice-weekly testing and the use of a surgical mask or an N95 respirator for workers who are exempted from the booster requirement or who have not yet received their booster.  
  • Requires all eligible workers to receive their booster by Feb. 1, 2022. After Feb. 1, workers must receive their booster within 15 days of becoming eligible for a booster. 
  • Continues existing exclusions for qualifying religious- or health-based exemptions. Workers who have been vaccinated but wish to decline the booster may also be eligible for an exemption.  

Facilities must begin testing all booster-eligible workers who have not yet received their booster by Dec. 27. 

CHA has asked CDPH for more time to implement hospital testing programs for staff without a documented booster but has not yet received a response. The public health order includes a table to assist hospitals in determining eligibility for a booster. Additionally, CDPH has issued FAQs on implementing the order.  If you have any questions, please contact Gideon Baum, vice president, policy, at