SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — California health officials announced a new age group will soon be able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
Beginning March 15, state healthcare providers can begin vaccinating people age 16-64 with underlying health conditions, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.
That’s about 4 to 6 million Californians eligible to receive the vaccine.
The underlying health conditions include cancer, severe obesity and type 2 diabetes. It also includes pregnant people and extends to other priority groups including health care workers, teachers and those age 65 and older.
Earlier this week, California confirmed its first cases of the South African variant of COVID-19 in the Bay Area.
The South African variant was discovered in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa in Oct. 2020. The CDC says this variant has multiple mutations in the spike protein, which is concerning.
However, the CDC says, “currently there is no evidence to suggest that this variant has any impact on disease severity.”
On a national level, President Joe Biden said his administration has secured 200 million additional doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
Biden said the additional doses would bring the total number of doses to 600 million, enough to inoculate 300 million people. The schedule for delivery of the additional doses is unknown at this time.
And the pace of injections could increase further if a third coronavirus vaccine from drugmaker Johnson & Johnson receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Furthermore, Dr. Anthony Fauci is predicting that nearly all Americans will have access to COVID-19 vaccinations by April, as increased supply allows most people to get shots.
CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide on Friday began giving free doses of the COVID-19 vaccines for eligible people.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.