California expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said California will begin notifying residents who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Now, vaccinations are open statewide for people ages 65 and up after the U.S. recommended not to hold second doses.

The state had only been vaccinating frontline health care workers and staff/residents of longterm care facilities.

Governor Newsom announced the update in a video on Twitter, taken at a soon to be vaccine supersite in Sacramento. 

“We are significantly increasing our efforts to get these vaccines administered. Get them out of freezers and into people’s arms,” Newsom said.

Another effort the governor announced, California next week will roll out a new system to let people know if they’re eligible for the vaccine, and if not, allow them to sign up for a notification when they are. 

The new system will also allow cities and counties to host mass vaccination events.

The update comes as California struggles to administer the vaccine compared to the rest of the country, recent CDC data show California ranking near the bottom only having given out less than a quarter of the doses its received. 

In a statement Wednesday, Republican Senate Majority Leader Shannon Grove said in part– “The governor and his team have had ten months to plan for this moment, yet the rollout of the vaccine distribution has been an absolute failure.”

The governor has promised to vaccinate one million Californians by the end of this weekend. 

Health leaders say the state is still in its first phase of distribution, Phase 1a, which includes frontline medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities. 

San Francisco on Tuesday had already announced they will follow through with offering vaccines to people who are 65 and older.

This demographic was given priority because they are most at risk of dying from COVID, state officials said.

They take the lead ahead of emergency workers as well as teachers.

The state has distributed nearly 4 million vaccines as of Wednesday, but administered only about 891,000 doses. The total percentage of Californians who have been vaccinated thus far is 2.3%.

See how the Bay Area is ramping up its vaccination efforts here.

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