CA setting aside vaccines for most vulnerable communities

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — California is trying to quickly vaccinate millions of Californians in the most vulnerable parts of the state.

Once this happens, state leaders say even more parts of the economy can reopen.

The governor says the state’s efforts so far to make vaccine distribution equitable have fallen short.

So the administration is getting more specific with who its targeting, and providing an incentive for the entire state.

“We have to be bolder and we have to go bigger,” Gov. Newsom said.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration will start dedicating 40% of its vaccine supply to those eligible living in the most vulnerable zip codes in California.

The state defines its most vulnerable parts as the bottom quartile of California’s healthy places index, communities considered low income or hardest hit by the pandemic.

Areas like the one the governor stopped by Thursday in the San Joaquin Valley.

“To add insult to injury, households earning over 120,000 have twice the access to vaccines than those communities disproportionally impacted, that’s what we have to reconcile,” Newsom said. “We have to own up to that.”

And Newsom’s administration says it’s trying.

So far, state officials say about 1.6 million doses have been distributed in these targeted areas.

To incentivize even more vaccines among the vulnerable, when two million doses have been distributed — it will trigger rule changes for the red tier.

They expect this to happen within the next two weeks.

Right now, the red tier requires no more than 7 cases per 100 thousand per day, that would change it to 10 cases per 100 thousand a day — making it easier for even more parts of the state to reopen shuttered parts of the economy.

State officials also say they will expand the amount of outdoor activities allowed in this tier, but wouldn’t get specific Thursday.

“The focuses of our blue print refresh is to focus on what we’ve learned over the last many months,” Dr. Mark Ghaly said. “Six months ago, we didn’t realize outdoor activities with masks on and physical distancing are safe as can be done so really supporting that in our blue print, always trying to be a state that learns first, learns the fastest and adapts to what we’re seeing in the evidence.”

State leaders say they play on releasing details of the blue print refresh within the next couple of days.

The Healthy Places Index website has the data by the bottom quartile zip codes that the state is using to target the most vulnerable.

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