California Governor Gavin Newsom announces new eligibility for vaccinations to ages 50 and over and anyone 16 and over

Ed Walsh

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San Francisco vaccination site at Moscone Center. Photo by Ed Walsh

If you have been waiting patiently for the COVID vaccine in California, your time is near. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that starting April 1 everyone 50 and over will be able to get a vaccine. Starting on April 15, anyone 16 and over will be able to get the vaccine.

“With vaccine supply increasing and by expanding eligibility to more Californians, the light at the end of the tunnel continues to get brighter,” said Governor Newsom. “We remain focused on equity as we extend vaccine eligibility to those older than 50 starting April 1, and those older than 16 starting April 15. This is possible thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration and the countless public health officials across the state who have stepped up to get shots into arms.”

California expects to be allocated approximately 2.5 million first and second doses per week in the first half of April, and more than 3 million doses in the second half of April. California currently gets nearly two million doses per week. The announced it has the capacity to administer more than 3 million vaccines per week, and says it is building the capacity to administer 4 million vaccines weekly by the end of April.

“We are even closer to putting this pandemic behind us with today’s announcement and with vaccine supplies expected to increase dramatically in the months ahead," said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. "However, we are not there yet. It will take time to vaccinate all eligible Californians. During this time, we must not let our guard down. It is important that we remain vigilant, continue to wear masks and follow public health guidance."

The state announced the following measures to help advance vaccines in California:

· “Provider funding for programs to reach and vaccinate communities facing the biggest health disparities

· Working with organized labor to reach essential workers

· Partnering with agricultural organizations and community-based organizations to vaccinate agricultural workers

· Allowing providers to target by ZIP code via My Turn with single-use codes (scheduled to launch at the end of March)

· Supporting a subset of community-based organizations currently partnering with the state on COVID-19 education to provide direct vaccination appointment assistance

· Prioritizing currently eligible populations and allowing providers the discretion to vaccinate those who live in high-impact areas (County Healthy Places Index Quartiles 1 and 2), including families“

Tha state cautioned that even with expanded vaccine supplies, it is expected to take months for Californians to be vaccinated.

"Based on public information shared by vaccine manufacturers and the federal government, California expects to receive several million vaccine doses per week starting sometime in April," Newsom's office stated in a press release.

"Along with the expanded eligibility and to align with upcoming federal guidance, California will update its vaccine allocation methodology," the release continued. "This will transition over four weeks, beginning with the March 22 allocation (delivered to providers the following week), from one based on the distribution of the 65+ population, workers in the agriculture and food, education and child care, and emergency services sectors to one based on the distribution of the 16+ population across California."

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