Vaccine eligibility to expand Monday |

Vaccine eligibility to expand Monday


As announced by state officials, vaccine eligibility will expand to include individuals age 16 to 64 with certain underlying health conditions starting Monday.

According to a California Department of Public Health bulletin, health care providers will at that point be able to use their clinical judgment to vaccinate those “who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 as a direct result of one or more” of a list of severe conditions.

The list includes cancer, advanced kidney disease, chronic pulmonary disease, Down syndrome, immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, certain heart conditions, severe obesity, or some cases of Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

During YubaNet’s Vaccinate Nevada County webinar Thursday, Nevada County Director of Health and Human Services Ryan Gruver said that while “a much larger slice of our community” will become eligible Monday, it will still be the case that vaccine supply on-hand remains insufficient for all eligible residents.

According to Gruver, more information from the state regarding the full implications of the eligibility expansion on vaccine rollout is expected by Monday, but had not been released as of Thursday afternoon.

As of Thursday, according to the state COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, 29,283 doses of vaccine had been given to Nevada County residents.

In a Q&A Wednesday, Nevada County Director of Public Health Jill Blake said that while the county’s vaccine allocations from the state had been steadily increasing during the past month — with last week’s allocation being the largest to date — a “small dip” was expected this week.

“We have been told that California’s allocations will remain pretty static for the next two to three weeks, but we won’t be getting any more Johnson & Johnson vaccine until March 23,” said Blake.

Once the state received more of that vaccine, said Blake, she anticipates Nevada County will be allocated “our fair share of it.”

During the webinar, Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann discussed the county’s vaccine progress in contrast to Sierra County, which has moved on to vaccinating all residents 18 or older regardless of medical conditions, according to Sierra County Public Health.

Kellermann noted that Sierra County’s population is around 3,600 people, meaning, “you don’t have to have many immunizations to work right down from 65 and below, and that’s what they’ve done.”

For comparison, Nevada County has an estimated population over 99,000, according to national census data from 2019.

“If they said, ‘You have to wait,’ what do you do with those vaccines when people really want them?,” asked Kellermann. “So, Sierra County has just made the decision in collaboration with the state to immunize everybody, and they’re doing a great job.”

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at


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