SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. – On March 15, California opened up vaccine eligibility to several groups.
Under California Department of Public Health guidelines, people between the ages of 16 and 64 with underlying health conditions, such as cancer, down syndrome, heart conditions, sickle cell disease and more are eligible to get the vaccine.
Even with the new guidelines, the state says health care providers can use their medical judgment when it comes to whether they vaccinate someone
“I think they need to be vaccinated,” said Patt Brower of Redding. “I think anybody who is in a precarious living situation needs to be vaccinated. We just need to quit messing around with excuses for not vaccinated anybody that is in those situations.”
The state also opened eligibility to public transit workers, and people who live in shared living spaces, like homeless shelters.
“It's very important for our population,” said Justin Wandro, the Director of Development at the Good News Rescue Mission. “Most of them are considered high risk, very vulnerable.”
With the state opening up more vaccine eligibility, it’s giving some people the relief that they've been looking for.
“I can worry about not contacting it from someone,” said Raymond Kevin Cantrell, a guest at the homeless shelter. "It's given me relief now that I don't have to worry about getting it because I do have a heart condition.”
With the vaccine becoming available to the most vulnerable, the Good News Rescue Mission said this can help ease some of the burdens the homeless are facing.
“We have isolation for people coming in and lots of sanitizing,” said Wandro. “But ultimately the vaccine is going to help a lot more than all of those things. For our population, it really gives them a chance to be as healthy as they can be.”
Shasta County Public Health said it's working on a plan to get this new eligible group vaccinated.