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What are the criteria to be eligible for a vaccination in California?

Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that more groups will be able to get a covid-19 vaccine as the Golden State looks to meet President Biden's targets.

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What are the criteria to be eligible for a vaccination in California?
JUSTIN SULLIVAN AFP

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced plans to begin vaccinating all California residents aged 50 and over from 1 April, with anyone at least 16 years old able to make an appointment from 15 April onwards.

The move comes as states across the country aim to expand their vaccination effort to meet President Biden’s increasingly ambitious targets.

In a White House press conference on Thursday evening Biden upped his own target of 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days to 200 million vaccines, having already reached the initial goal. He has also called on all states to remove all eligibility requirements for Americans by 1 May.

Newsom announces new vaccine eligibility for Californians

The new vaccine eligibility requirements mark the next step in the state’s rollout effort and suggests that California has caught up after an initially slow start. In the first half of April state health officials expect to receive 2.5 million vaccine doses a week, with that number exceeding 3 million a week for the second half of the month.

Making the announcement, Gov. Newsom was optimistic about the effect this progress would have: “With vaccine supply increasing and by expanding eligibility to more Californians, the light at the end of the tunnel continues to get brighter.”

He added: “This is possible thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration and the countless public health officials across the state who have stepped up to get shots into arms.”

The latest information on the official state website suggests that they hope to have the capacity to administer 4 million vaccines a week by the end of April.

California health officials warn against complacency

The expansion of the state-wide vaccination effort is undoubtedly positive news for Californians, but it comes after a full year of tough restrictions enforced on the state. Throughout the pandemic businesses have been shuttered, children kept from schools and the livelihoods of millions have been affected.

After making it through such a rough year health officials are desperate to ensure that pandemic fatigue does not set in before the vaccination effort has begun to reap real results. Even once all eligibility requirements for adults have been removed, it is expected to take months for all Californians to have received both doses of a vaccine.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the state Health and Human Services Agency, said recently: “We must not let our guard down… It is important that we remain vigilant, continue to wear masks and follow public health guidance.”

This sentiment is echoed by other local health officials who are concerned that they will not be given access to enough doses of covid-19 vaccines to supply the increasing number of eligible adults. Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib warned that the eligibility changes will see an extra 400,000 people able to receive the vaccine overnight, but his county has been told it will get 58,000 just doses next week.