CALIFORNIA, USA — California will require COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for healthcare workers, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.
In a statement posted to Twitter, he cited the rise of the omicron variant in the state. Omicron is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the country, according to federal health officials.
"With Omicron on the rise, we’re taking immediate actions to protect Californians and ensure our hospitals are prepared," Newsom said in a tweet.
More information is expected in an announcement on Wednesday.
Omicron variant surging
The announcement from the governor also comes as Sacramento County confirmed the first cases of the omicron variant in the county. One of the patients was unvaccinated while another was vaccinated, according the department of public health.
Samantha Mott, spokesperson for Sacramento County Public Health, said more cases are expected to pop up.
"We do anticipate more will pop up. This has shown to be a very contagious variant," Mott said. She also emphasized protecting yourself by getting vaccinated, getting a booster shot, getting tested before and after traveling, and adhering the masking mandates.
With the surge of the virus coinciding with holiday travel, some health experts are concerned.
"These are all opportunities for more transmission and it could lead to such widespread transmission that it can get so sick to people in hospitals and into ICUs," Dr. Dean Blumberg told ABC10 Monday.
While there's still more to learn about the variant, officials believe it could spread up to three times faster than the delta variant. However, Blumberg also said the booster shot is helping prevent hospitalizations.
"They won't end up in the hospital. They won’t end up in the ICU. They won't die from infection," Dr. Blumberg said.