California to expand vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and up in April


ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (KGET) — All adults in California will soon be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the governor’s office.

Starting April 1, California will expand its COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people 50 years and older.

Newsom says everyone 16 years and older will be eligible to get the vaccine starting April 15.

Governor Gavin Newsom was in Orange County on Thursday for the announcement.

“One thing I know about what’s going to happen in this state, we’re not going to come back, we’re going to come roaring back,” Newsom said at Thursday’s press conference. “Mark my words, this state is going to come roaring back.”

Governor Newsom has yet to be vaccinated. With the new rules, he will be among those eligible and said he looks forward to getting the vaccine then.

Also starting immediately, the governor said those who might not otherwise be eligible can be vaccinated when taking an eligible family member to their appointment if providers have the flexibility to provide the extra shot.

“Regardless of your age, regardless of your preexisting condition, if someone comes in eligible under the existing rules but with a family member, we will accommodate the family member no questions asked,” Newsom said.

The state expects to receive a weekly shipment of 2.5 million doses in the first half of April and 3 million in the second half of the month. The governor says he hopes the state will be able to administer 4 million vaccines weekly by the time April wraps up.

“Even with expanded vaccine supplies, it is expected to take several months for willing 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,” Thursday’s release from the governor’s office reads.

Right now, California receives an average of about 1.8 million doses per week.

“We are working with providers up and down the state to prepare for a surge of access and demand,” Newsom said.

President Joe Biden told states all adults in the U.S. should be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1 at the latest. In a phone conference with reporters earlier this month, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state was “laser focused” on being prepared for the president’s deadline.

Blue Shield will be working with health care providers as it takes over the state’s vaccine distribution system.

California has been pushing for those in “high impact” areas to get vaccines before any other groups.

Officials have been using the Healthy Places Index map to determine which ZIP codes to focus on in that effort. Clinics run by local grassroots organizers and emergency responders have been popping up in neighborhoods across the state.

Recently, vaccine eligibility has also expanded to those ages 16 to 64 with health conditions like chronic pulmonary disease, down syndrome, pregnancy, and people with developmental or other high-risk disabilities.

Businesses in more and more counties have been reopening indoor operations as they move through California’s color-coded tiers.

“We’re well on our way to a green tier in a foreseeable future,” Newsom said Thursday.

Currently, the least restrictive tier in California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy is the yellow tier.

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