All CA Adults Could Be Eligible For Vaccine In May, Newsom Says

A scarcity of coronavirus vaccine doses continues to plague the Golden State’s efforts to battle the pandemic. But the state may be able to offer shots to all Californians by early May, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.

During a San Francisco news conference, the Golden State governor said that vaccine supply would “exponentially increase” in the next month.

“We’re anticipating within 5 1/2 weeks, where we can eliminate all of the tiering, so to speak, and make available vaccines to everybody across the spectrum because supply will exponentially increase,” he told reporters.

The remark comes a week after President Joe Biden said that production constraints will no longer be an issue by May. The president further said that the states would allow every American over the age of 18 to get a vaccine by May 1, a directive that Newsom previously said he supports.

“As we get more manufactured supply, we’ll make more abundant that distribution,” Newsom said. “We’re in a scarcity frame.”

The state expects to get 1.8 million vaccines next week, and although supply has not increased that much in the last month, distribution has accelerated.

More than 14 million shots have been administered to date, according to state data. California has also been inoculating more residents each day.

This week, the state broke a new record for administering shots for several days in a row and administered some 1.2 million shots within 72 hours.

“In the last 48 hours we administered nearly one million vaccines — a new record,” Newsom said on Wednesday.

Newsom previously predicted that April would see an uptick in supplies with the hasty approval of the J&J product, but manufactured supply continues to be an issue, he maintained on Friday.

“The federal government has not provided projections on Johnson & Johnson beyond this week,” a California Department of Public Health spokesperson told Patch last week.

The state received a shipment of some 1.7 million vaccines last week, which included just 44,000 of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Meanwhile, counties across California have been working with the state’s constantly evolving guidelines and trying to make do without enough doses to accommodate everyone who wants one.

“We have a lot of capacity to vaccinate but we can’t put it into play because we don’t have enough vaccine,” Dr. Ori Tziveili, acting health officer for Contra Costa County told Patch on Tuesday.

Despite the fact that supply issues have not improved much in the past few weeks, some 4.4 million Californians entered the eligibility pool this week — including transit workers, some homeless populations and those with severe health conditions and disabilities.

What’s more, the state is not requiring eligible Californians to provide proof of their condition and many health jurisdictions are relying on the honor system, according to multiple reports.

The Golden State is also earmarking 40 percent of its supply for those in low-income, vulnerable ZIP Codes, and 10 percent for education workers.

“I’m very proud of the work we’re doing on equity, no other state in the country is doing that. And it goes deep to the conversation we’re having today,” he said at the Friday conference, where he spoke out against recent attacks targeting Asian-Americans.

The state identified the following disabilities and health conditions as those eligible:

  • * Cancer, current with weakened immune system.
  • * Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above.
  • * Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen-dependent.
  • * Down syndrome.
  • * Solid-organ transplant leading to a weakened immune system.
  • * Pregnancy.
  • * Sickle cell disease.
  • * Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension).
  • * Severe obesity (a body mass index equal to or greater than 40 kg/m2).
  • * Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5 percent.

The number of those inoculated in the state is rising and cases have remained relatively low. On Friday, the state reported a 2 percent positivity rate and 3,107 new cases were reported on Saturday.

As cases continue to fall, the state is rapidly reopening.

Last week, the state hit a key equity vaccine metric set by Newsom and public health officials. After inoculating 2 million people in these areas, the state relaxed requirements to exit strict reopening tiers. This allowed some 23 counties to move from the purple to red tier since Sunday.


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