California Adds 4-6 Million People To COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility List
California is expanding the list of people eligible for coronavirus vaccine by another 4 million to 6 million people, state Health Director Dr. Mark Ghaly said Friday.
Starting March 15, severely disabled people and those with health conditions that put them at high risk can get in line for shots. Among those included are people with certain cancer, heart, lung and kidney conditions, as well as pregnant women, those with Down syndrome, organ transplant recipients and the severely obese.
California has been plagued by vaccine shortages and Ghaly acknowledged he’s not sure how long it will take for the federal supply of shots to meet demand.
The state’s decision to rely largely on age for vaccine eligibility was criticized by those who said it failed to protect people under 65 and at high risk of infection and death from COVID-19.
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Ghaly said there are roughly 13 million people already eligible for vaccination, including health care workers. The new additions will push the total to nearly half the state's population of just under 40 million.
California has opened many mass vaccination centers in the last several weeks but they aren’t operating close to full capacity because of vaccine shortages. The city of Los Angeles temporarily closed vaccination sites at Dodger Stadium and four other locations until supplies could be replenished.
Two shots are required for each person to be fully vaccinated. California has administered 5.5 million doses to date, and more than 1 million people have gotten both.