CA leaders race to increase vaccine supply ahead of COVID-19 variants

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — As California expands eligibility to everyone over the age of 16, state leaders say they are in a race to get vaccines ahead of the COVID-19 variants.

But there are some hurdles emerging.

In the race against the variants, California leaders are hoping to get ahead after expanding vaccine eligibility to all adults Thursday.

“We are not prepared as a state as a nation to run the 90 yard dash, we have work to do.”

So far more than 9.5 million Californians have been fully vaccinated and another 6.3 million partially. Officials say 50% of those eligible to get vaccinated have done so already.

24 million doses total have been distributed in the state.

“We lead this nation by some 8.1 million more than any other state.”

But Newsom said Thursday manufactured supply is still keeping the state from vaccinating at its full potential.

California will get a shipment of 1.9 million doses this week from the federal government, when it had originally expected 2.5 million.

The suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine remains under review indefinitely and state health officials say incoming shipments will fall flat for the next few weeks.

“The expectation is and this has been reinforced, that the manufactured supply by the end of the month will start to significantly increase of both Moderna and Pfizer.”

State leaders acknowledge although the state’s positivity rate remains low, the variants are a concern. The governor said 20% of California’s cases in March were the U.K. variant, and 53% of them west coast.

“We are in the fourth quarter, unquestionably, but this game’s not done yet.”

For now California leaders are still sticking with the June 15 full reopening plan. Meanwhile, the governor says the state is also tracking the number of breakthrough COVID-19 cases in people who have been vaccinated and plans to make that data public soon.

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