SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is immediately allowing residents 65 and older to get scarce coronavirus vaccines.
Gov Gavin Newsom's announcement Wednesday puts seniors in line before emergency workers, teachers, childcare providers and food and agriculture workers even as counties complain they already don't have enough doses to go around.
Health care workers and those in nursing homes and other congregate living facilities can still be vaccinated, but state officials are expanding to those 65 and up because they are at the greatest risk of being hospitalized and dying.
California has seen virus cases and hospitalizations explode since Thanksgiving, though in recent days the numbers have flattened.
“With our hospitals crowded and ICUs full, we need to focus on vaccinating Californians who are at highest risk of becoming hospitalized to alleviate stress on our health care facilities,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of the California Department of Public Health and the state’s Public Health Officer. “Prioritizing individuals age 65 and older will reduce hospitalizations and save lives.”
We are significantly increasing efforts to get vaccines out.
One way is through mass distribution sites for priority groups, another is increasing eligible groups - we're announcing that Californians 65+ are the next group eligible to receive #COVID19 vaccines. #EndThePandemic pic.twitter.com/LU7rFPzvFd
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) January 13, 2021
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