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State to Expand COVID Vaccines to Those with High-Risk Health Conditions

Registered nurse Emily Enos attempts to extract an extra dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine outside the Los Angeles Mission located in the Skid Row community on February 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Registered nurse Emily Enos attempts to extract an extra dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine outside the Los Angeles Mission located in the Skid Row community on Feb. 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. | Mario Tama/Getty Images
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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - In a move that will vastly expand the number of people eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, state health officials said today that as of March 15, shots can be administered to people 16 and older suffering from medical conditions or developmental disabilities making them susceptible to severe illness or death from the virus.

The move comes amid continued shortages in vaccine supply, but follows mounting pressure to make the shots available to people most at risk of dying or falling seriously ill if they contract the virus.

According to a bulletin sent to providers across the state, the California Department of Public Health advised that vaccinations can be made to people between ages 16 and 64 who suffer from:

  • cancer;
  • chronic kidney disease;
  • chronic pulmonary disease;
  • Down syndrome;
  • weakened immune system from solid organ transplant;
  • pregnancy;
  • sickle cell disease;
  • heart conditions;
  • severe obesity; and
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Also becoming available for vaccines will be anyone 16 or over who suffers from a “developmental or other severe high-risk disability” that leaves the person susceptible to serious illness or death from COVID; if acquiring COVID will limit the person's ability to receiving necessary ongoing care or services; or if the disability would hamper the person's ability to be treated for COVID.

On "SoCal Update," see how an approved group of health workers is having trouble accessing the vaccine.
Vaccines Denied to Disability Caregivers | Feb. 11

The state already allows vaccinations for anyone aged 65 or over regardless of health condition. When the new eligibility takes effect March 15, the number of Californians overall who will be eligible to receive shots under existing guidelines will increase to as many as 19 million.

To date, just over 5 million doses have been administered across California. The current vaccines require each person to receive two doses, spaced three to four weeks apart.

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Domingo Comin, an employee at Carefield Assisted Living in Castro Valley, holds his vaccination card.

¿Pasaportes de vacunas en California? Respuestas a tus preguntas

California no tiene planes de administrar un pasaporte. Pero el estado está enviando mensajes contradictorios a las empresas sobre la necesidad de verificar que las personas en los grandes eventos estén vacunadas.
Domingo Comin, an employee at Carefield Assisted Living in Castro Valley, holds his vaccination card.

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California has no plans to administer a passport. But the state is sending mixed messages to businesses about the need to verify that people at large events are vaccinated.
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Beating the Pavement to Vaccinate the Underrepresented — And Protect Everyone

In poor neighborhoods and desert towns, community activists — some unpaid — are signing up hard-to-reach people for vaccination appointments. Experts say these campaigns are key to building the country’s immunological armor against new outbreaks.