Vaccine eligibility to expand to anyone 16 and over April 15
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that COVID-19 vaccine eligibility will be shifting statewide to include those 50 and older beginning April 1, and anyone 16 and older on April 15.
“In just a few weeks, there’ll be no rules, no limitations, as it relates to the ability to get a vaccine administered,” Newsom said. “This state is going to come roaring back.”
Governors across the country have expanded eligibility for the vaccine as supplies have increased. Earlier this month, Alaska opened eligibility to any resident over 16. Florida said Thursday it will open eligibility to anyone 18 and over on April 5, while Texas will start inoculating all adults next week.
President Joe Biden’s administration wants all states to make every adult eligible for the vaccine by May 1.
“You are not jumping the line if you are eligible,“ states a Nevada County press release on the announced eligibility expansions. ”Every vaccine administered is a win for the whole community.“
Nevada County Public Health has also continued its schedule of adding the following week’s first-dose appointments for its Whispering Pines clinic onto MyTurn each Friday at noon.
Nevada County Public Information Officer Taylor Wolfe said in an email Friday, “The Whispering Pines clinic is currently providing 1,500 vaccinations per week. We continue to ramp up efforts as more vaccine is allocated, with over 800 first-dose appointments being released (Friday) at noon on MyTurn.CA.Gov.”
Reacting to the news during YubaNet’s weekly Vaccinate Nevada County webinar Thursday, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital president and CEO Dr. Brian Evans said, “I think when the supplies really start increasing significantly and the tiers open up … it’s really going to be a game changer, so I‘m pretty excited about the news from the state today.”
Currently vaccines are generally available only to those 65 or older or who have certain medical conditions. Several counties and communities already had lowered the eligibility requirements, but many of the state’s 40 million residents found themselves anxiously awaiting their turns.
California was initially slow to roll out the vaccines, but it has ramped up inoculations in recent weeks. The state expects to receive 2.5 million doses a week in the first half of the month and more than 3 million a week in the second, a big jump from the current weekly supply of roughly 1.8 million doses.
“They’re saying that they’re seeing that there will be a surge in supply that will make that possible, but I just want to emphasize that we’re going to continue to have the problem of expectations versus reality,” said Nevada County Director of Health and Human Services Ryan Gruver in YubaNet’s webinar Thursday.
Gruver said the county has 86,000 residents who are 16 and over.
“Even though you’ll be eligible if you’re over 16 on April 15 … it’ll take some time to get through everybody,” Gruver said.
He added, however, that the predictability of vaccine supply is also expected to improve, a development which would allow for scheduling appointments further out. Currently, the county is informed of its vaccine allocation week to week.
Asked how the eligibility expansions will affect Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s vaccine administration, a spokesperson for Dignity Health wrote in an email that the state’s announcement was “an encouraging step forward in the effort for herd immunity and achieving a sense of normalcy once again,” and that the organization remains committed to equitable vaccine distribution as eligibility requirements broaden.
“However, vaccine supply continues to be an issue and at this time we are at the mercy of that inventory,” they wrote. “While we have not yet received information on what that vaccine inventory will look like in the coming weeks, we stand ready to help in that distribution as we have been for three months now.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Nevada County Public Health:
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To watch YubaNet’s full recorded webinars: http://www.youtube.com/c/Yubanet1
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