The has state opened vaccinations to those 65 and older as hospitals continue to battle the COVID-19 surge.
California residents who are 65 and older are now eligible to receive vaccinations, announced Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday. That vastly increases the original Tier 1 group by roughly 6.6. million Californians, in an effort to accelerate the distribution of the drug across the state.
“There is no higher priority than efficiently and equitably distributing these vaccines as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences,” Newsom said in a statement. To those not yet eligible for vaccines, your turn is coming. We are doing everything we can to bring more vaccines into the state.”
The announcement follows federal guidance that recommends making the vaccine available to the elderly, who are more likely to be hospitalized and become seriously ill. While there are concerns over how this may cause further delay for others, it may begin to ease the strain on hospitals battling the post-Thanksgiving explosion in critical COVID-19 cases.
No further information on how appointments for shots can be made and some county websites still advise that only healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents qualify for them. However, Newsom mentioned that a new system would be introduced to notify people when they become eligible, which is expected to launch next week.
Meanwhile, “super” drive-thru vaccine distribution sites are being set up at major venues all across California, including Dodger Stadium, Disneyland and Petco Park. These mass vaccination centers are expected to accommodate thousands of people wanting to receive shots every day. Although, it has raised concern over meeting the demand for the scarce drug.
So far, 2,466,125 doses have been shipped and around 816,673 vaccines have been administered.
[Featured Image: Steven Cornfield via Unsplash]