News Releases

Official news releases from the Medical Board of California

COVID-19 Updates

See below for the most recent COVID-19 updates.

  • new DCA Extends License Re-Activation Waiver Posted: 9/1/21

    The Department of Consumer Affairs issued DCA-21-187 extending the temporary waiver of continuing education requirements and payment of required fees for individuals seeking to restore a retired/inactive license until November 1, 2021, or when the State of Emergency ceases to exist, whichever is sooner. DCA-21-187 may be amended as circumstances require.

  • Inappropriate Exemptions May Subject Physicians to Discipline Posted: 8/18/21

    The Medical Board of California (Board) would like to inform licensees and the public that a physician who grants a mask or other exemption without conducting an appropriate prior exam and without a finding of a legitimate medical reason supporting such an exemption within the standard of care may be subjecting their license to disciplinary action.

    The Board encourages the public to file a complaint with the Board if they feel that a physician is granting mask exemptions inappropriately.

  • DCA Extends COVID-19 Waivers for Examination, Supervision Requirements Posted: 6/08/21

    The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has extended temporary waivers that give more time for physicians and surgeons license applicants to pass a test required for licensure and lift supervision requirements related to physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

    Under DCA-21-155, physician and surgeon applicants whose applications are deemed abandoned between June 2, 2021, and August 1, 2021, due to the applicant failing to pass or retake Step 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination, DCA waives California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 1306, subdivision (a)(4), to the extent it requires applicants to pass or retake the examination within one year, subject to the condition that an applicant must pass or retake the examination within 18 months from the date of written notification by the Medical Board of California.

    DCA also issued order DCA-21-156, which extends previous orders waiving ratio requirements for the supervision of nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, and physician assistants through August 8, 2021.

    These orders are effective immediately but may be amended by DCA as circumstances require.

  • DCA Extends License Renewal Waiver Posted: 6/04/21

    The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) extended a waiver for physicians and surgeons seeking license renewal.

    DCA-21-152 waives requirements to complete continuing medical education (CME) related to a license that expires between March 31, 2020 and July 31, 2021. The requirements are deferred for a six-month period, unless the order is further extended.

    Licensees eligible under this waiver must complete their CME no later than December 3, 2021. This temporary waiver does not apply to any CME, training, or examination required pursuant to a disciplinary order against a license. In order to receive the CME waiver at the time of renewal, licensees must submit a complete renewal application and pay the required fees. There are no additional steps.

  • California to Open Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccination Appointments for 12-15 Age Group Posted: 5/13/21
  • DCA Extends COVID-19 Vaccine Waiver for PTL Holders Posted: 5/3/21

    The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has extended a temporary waiver that lifts COVID-19 vaccine ordering and administering restrictions for postgraduate training license (PTL) holders.

    DCA-21-144 is effective immediately but may be further extended as circumstances require. The waiver lifts restrictions described in Business and Professions Code section 2064.5, subdivision (b), to the extent it prohibits PTL holders from ordering and administering COVID-19 vaccines outside of their postgraduate training program without the program director’s approval, subject to the following conditions:

    • The postgraduate training licensee successfully completes the required COVID-19 training programs prescribed by the California Department of Public Health.
    • The postgraduate training licensee complies with all applicable federal and state recordkeeping and reporting requirements, including providing documentation to the patient’s primary care provider, as applicable, and enters information in the appropriate immunization information system designated by the immunization branch of the State Department of Public Health.
    • The subject vaccine is administered in accordance with any applicable FDA emergency use authorization or license.
  • DCA Issues Waivers to Boost Statewide Vaccination Efforts Posted: 4/8/21
    Waiver Applies to Summary
    DCA-21-137 Licensed midwives, physician assistants, respiratory care practitioners, and veterinarians

    Waives any restriction on their ability to independently order and administer FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines in connection with a state, local, or institutional vaccination effort. Licensed midwives and veterinarians cannot presently order and administer vaccines, the waiver would enable them to do so independently, consistent with the federal declaration. Physician assistants and respiratory care practitioners can currently administer COVID vaccines with limitations, the waiver would remove existing limitations and enable physician assistants and respiratory care practitioners to order and administer vaccines independently.

    DCA-21-138 Medical assistants

    Medical assistants can currently administer COVID vaccines if they have the appropriate training and if they have the specific authorization and supervision required by existing law. The waiver would allow appropriately trained medical assistants to administer vaccines without a patient-specific order from a specific supervisor.

    DCA-21-139 Healthcare students

    Including medical, nursing, pharmacist, midwife, physician assistant, respiratory care practitioner, dentist, podiatry, optometry, and veterinarian students. Waives any restriction on their ability to administer FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines in connection with a state, local, or institutional vaccination effort if:

    1. they are appropriately trained, as determined by the student’s educational program; and,
    2. they are supervised when giving vaccines by a practicing healthcare professional experienced in giving intramuscular injections.

    Some healthcare students can already order and/or administer vaccines. Dental students, midwifery students, optometry students, and veterinarian students currently cannot administer COVID vaccines.

    DCA-21-140 For persons with a currently inactive, expired or lapsed healthcare license

    Including physician and surgeon, registered nurse, pharmacist, midwife, respiratory care practitioner, dentist, physician assistant, podiatrist, optometrist, or veterinarian licenses. Waives any restriction on their ability to independently order and administer FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines in connection with a state, local, or institutional vaccination effort if:

    1. the individual held an active license or certification within the last five years; and,
    2. (2) the license was in active and good standing prior to becoming inactive, and it was not revoked or surrendered, and the individual is not on the Inspector General’s list of Excluded Individuals.

    Inactive licensees cannot currently order and administer vaccines, the waiver would enable them to do so, subject to the conditions discussed above.

    Additional waivers can be found on DCA’s website.

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expands Statewide in April Posted: 03/29/21

    Vaccinations opening for all Californians aged 50 and up April 1st, and 16 and up April 15th.

    California is allocating COVID-19 vaccines as they become available to ensure equitable distribution. Vaccinations are prioritized according to risk and age.

    Healthcare workers and long-term care residents (Phase 1A) Now vaccinating
    People with a high chance of exposure and those 65 or older (Phase 1B)

    Sector populations with high chance of exposure:

    • Agriculture and food
    • Education and childcare
    • Emergency services
    Now vaccinating
    Individuals age 16 or older at higher risk

    People with certain significant high-risk:

    • Medical conditions
    • Disabilities
    • Illnesses
    • Living spaces
    • Work environments
    Now vaccinating
    Individuals 50 or older Starts April 1, 2021
    Every Californian 16 or older

    Vaccination of people younger than 16 will start as soon as the COVID-19 vaccines are approved for them

    Starts April 15, 2021

    For further details, please review the California Department of Public Health’s Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Guidelines and Provider Bulletin. California’s COVID-19 vaccine website with additional information and resources is available here.

    Every Californian can verify their eligibility or schedule with My Turn by signing up at myturn.ca.gov or calling (833) 422-4255.

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expands Statewide Beginning March 15, 2021

    Beginning March 15, 2021, healthcare providers may use their clinical judgment to vaccinate individuals age 16-64 who are deemed to be at high risk from COVID-19 as the direct result of certain conditions and settings, as specified in the California Department of Public Health’s Provider Bulletin:

    • Individuals with one or more severe health conditions
    • Individuals with developmental or other severe disabilities or illness
    • Individuals who live or work in a high risk congregate residential setting
    • Public transit workers

    For further details, please review the California Department of Public Health’s Provider Bulletin, Fact Sheet and COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidelines. California’s COVID-19 vaccine website with additional information and resources is available here.

    Individuals with the above conditions are strongly encouraged to seek vaccination with a primary health care provider or system, or in an alternate clinical setting. Additional ways individuals can find appointments are through pharmacies, local health departments, community pop-up clinics, online at MyTurn.ca.gov and by calling the COVID-19 hotline at (833)422-4255.

  • DCA Issues Order Waiving Renewal Requirements

    The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has issued a temporary waiver for deferral of continuing medical education (CME) requirements for physicians and surgeons and licensed midwives seeking license renewal.

    Under DCA Waiver DCA-21-134, requirements to complete continuing medical education (CME) related to a license that expires between March 31, 2020 and May 31, 2021 are deferred for a six-month period, unless the order is further extended.

    Licensees eligible under this waiver must complete their CME no later than September 30, 2021. This temporary waiver does not apply to any CME, training, or examination required pursuant to a disciplinary order against a license. In order to receive the CME waiver at the time of renewal, licensees must submit a complete renewal application and pay the required fees. There are no additional steps.

    DCA Waiver DCA-21-134 replaces previously issued waivers on October 22, 2020, December 15, 2020, and February 26, 2021, which have been withdrawn and rescinded.

  • Work to Relaunch USMLE Step 2 CS Discontinued
  • DCA Issues Waiver Lifting COVID-19 Vaccine Ordering and Administering Restrictions for PTL Holders

    The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has issued a temporary waiver lifting COVID-19 vaccine ordering and administering restrictions for postgraduate training license (PTL) holders.

    The waiver lifts restrictions described in Business and Professions Code section 2064.5, subdivision (b), to the extent it prohibits PTL holders from ordering and administering COVID-19 vaccines outside of their postgraduate training program without the program director’s approval, subject to the following conditions:

    • The postgraduate training licensee successfully completes the required COVID-19 training programs prescribed by the California Department of Public Health at the following website: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/COVIDTraining-Non-Traditional.aspx.
    • The postgraduate training licensee complies with all applicable federal and state recordkeeping and reporting requirements, including providing documentation to the patient’s primary care provider, as applicable, and enters information in the appropriate immunization information system designated by the immunization branch of the State Department of Public Health.
    • The subject vaccine is administered in accordance with any applicable FDA emergency use authorization or license.

    This order is effective immediately, but may be amended as circumstances require, and terminates 90 days from February 11, 2021 unless further extended.

  • Latest COVID-19 Update: DCA Extends Examination & Supervision Requirement Waivers, Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Waiver Extensions
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has extended temporary waivers giving more time for applicants to complete an exam required for a physician and surgeon’s license and lifting ratio requirements for the supervision of physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives.

    Under DCA 21-107, physician and surgeon applicants whose applications are deemed abandoned between February 1, 2021, and April 2, 2021, due to the applicant failing to pass or retake Step 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination, DCA waives California Code of Regulations, title 16, section 1306, subdivision (a)(4), to the extent it requires applicants to pass or retake the examination within one year, subject to the condition that an applicant must pass or retake the examination within 18 months from the date of written notification by the Medical Board of California.

    DCA also issued order DCA-21-108, which extends previous orders waiving ratio requirements for the supervision of nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, and physician assistants through April 9, 2021.

    These orders are effective immediately but may be amended by DCA as circumstances require.

  • Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order

    On January 27, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order that extends liability protections to specified licensees participating in the State’s vaccination administration program. It also directs the boards, bureaus and committees within the Department of Consumer Affairs that regulate healthcare professionals to prioritize certain investigations relating to vaccine administration. Read the full text of the Executive Order here. Posted: 01/28/21

  • Notice Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Administration - UPDATE

    On January 7, 2021, the California Department of Public Health released new guidance on vaccine prioritization. The guidance recognized the need to balance the prioritization of scarce vaccine resources with the goal of achieving community immunity for all Californians. Additionally, the guidance noted situations in which the health departments and providers may offer doses promptly to people in lower priority groups, including provider flexibility to eliminate vaccine spoilage.

    The Medical Board of California (Board) previously provided licensees with information on their role in maintaining the COVID-19 phase structure as they administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The Board is incorporating this new guidance and any future guidance issued into its review and evaluation of complaints that could result in disciplinary actions against licensees involved in COVID-19 administration.

    With respect to vaccine prioritization, the Board will prioritize complaints against licensees who engage in the diversion of COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine-administration supplies provided by the federal government that is undertaken for financial gain in violation of applicable federal and state guidance. The Board, however, will continue to observe its investigative priorities as established in Business and Professions Code section 2220.05.

    This guidance updates the guidance released on December 30, 2020.

    Additional information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine can be found at https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines Posted: 01/16/21