(The Center Square) – Gov. Gavin Newsom has vowed to vaccinate an additional 1 million people with the new COVID-19 vaccine over the next week.
So far, California has only received slightly more than 2.1 million doses of vaccines and one-third of them have already been administered to front line health care workers and residents at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Initially, two tiers of recipients can receive the vaccine, front-line health care workers and the elderly and those in high-risk categories residing in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
However, the state has eased restrictions on who qualifies in order to help speed the rate at which local health departments and providers administer the vaccine. The vaccines being administered were produced by pharmaceutical giants Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
The state announced in its newly published list that after the first tier of health care workers, the criteria for the next round of vaccines includes individuals who present a “higher risk for severe disease or death (due to age or other factors), are unable to work from home, live or work in geographic areas that have been severely affected, and are most likely to spread disease to other workers or to the public,” although the state does not identify which individuals these are or why they would be most likely to spread the virus.
Next, individuals age 75 years and older, followed by those at risk of exposure at work in the fields of education, child care, emergency services, and food and agriculture, can get the vaccine.
Then individuals ages 65-74 can be vaccinated, followed by those at risk of exposure in the fields of transportation and logistics; industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services; and critical manufacturing.
Next, those who are incarcerated and homeless could get the vaccine.
Then those aged 50-64, followed by those age 16-49 who have underlying health conditions or have disabilities that increases their risk of severe COVID-19, can get the vaccine.
Finally, those at risk of exposure in the fields of water and wastewater; defense; energy; chemical and hazardous materials; communications and IT; financial services; government operations/community-based essential functions could get the vaccine.
Getting vaccinated is voluntary and free of charge.
The news comes as California reported that 1,163 people died from or with the coronavirus on Saturday and Sunday.
The California Department of Public Health reports that there are nearly 2.7 million cases of the coronavirus statewide and nearly 30,000 people have died since the state first began reporting coronavirus data.