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New CDC Vaccine Guidance Gets Positive Reception From State And Local Health Officials

COVID-19 vaccines at the Vaccination Super Station near Petco Park. Jan. 10, ...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: COVID-19 vaccines at the Vaccination Super Station near Petco Park. Jan. 10, 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance to the states today on who should be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine right now.

The CDC said anyone aged 65 and older, as well as those with pre-existing health conditions, should be able to get the vaccine.

Listen to this story by John Carroll.

The new guidance got a thumbs-up from California’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly.

Ghaly said Governor Newsom has ordered state health authorities to take a closer look at it.

“So, that we can evaluate the new federal guidance, determine how it’s gonna impact what we do here in California, and with haste, without delay, getting that updated guidance out," Ghaly said.

He went on to say that the state should have more to say on the guidance within 24 hours.

Ghaly said Petco Park and other super sites in the state will help in getting more vaccine out to more people more quickly. He said other sites will be coming online within the next few weeks.

RELATED: San Diego County Gets First Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery

“As a health care provider and leader, we are so anxious to get to our older patients and our sicker, more complex patients," said UC San Diego Health CEO Patty Maysent.

Maysent appeared Tuesday on KPBS Midday Edition. She said she and her colleagues were desperate to get vaccine into the arms of older folks and those with co-morbidities.

But Maysent said the priority right now is to vaccinate more front-line healthcare workers. Broadly speaking, she said there are about half a million of them in the county.

She said within the next couple of weeks, the UC system and other vaccine providers should be able to begin vaccinating the 65-plus and co-morbidity group, even if they’re still vaccinating health care workers. There’s just one big challenge.

“We need the vaccine. To me, from a patient perspective, that’s the rate limiting factor right now is that we need more allocations of vaccine so that we can get it into the arms of our seniors," Maysent said.

The new guidance from the federal government is just that, guidance. The decision of how to distribute vaccines is up to the states.

There was some criticism today of the CDC recommendations from public health experts, the concern being that it could end up just causing confusion among the public. But it’s hard to argue with the hope that getting more vaccine out more quickly has the potential to supercharge the effort to save lives.

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John Carroll
General Assignment Reporter & Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm a general assignment reporter and Saturday morning radio anchor for KPBS. I love coming up with story ideas that aren't being covered elsewhere, but I'm also ready to cover the breaking news of the day. In addition, I bring you the local news headlines on Saturday mornings during NPR's Weekend Edition.

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