California is expanding its eligibility to vaccinate to people 50 and over from April and to people 16 and over from April 15.
Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday that California expects 2.5 million doses a week in the first half of April and more than 3 million doses a week in the second half of the month. That’s a big jump from the roughly 1.8 million doses a week the state is currently receiving.
“In just a few weeks, there will be no rules and restrictions on the ability to have a vaccine,” Newsom said at a news conference in Orange County.
The move comes because some California counties have deviated from the state’s criteria for approving vaccines by bringing people with a wider range of diseases under the age of 65 or older, or those with specific conditions that are required in most locations are given the opportunity.
Newsom said the state will continue to target underserved communities by working with workgroups to reach key workers and by allowing health care providers to target vaccinations by zip code.
States have opened eligibility as vaccine supplies have increased. Florida announced Thursday that it will open eligibility to anyone aged 18 and over on April 5, while New York has expanded eligibility to anyone over the age of 50.
The broader qualification for eligibility also affects California’s patchwork eligibility system, where some areas have gone beyond state criteria.
In some counties, people over the age of 50 were allowed to shoot. According to the county’s website, San Diego County has expanded the range of health conditions that qualify for moderate to severe asthma, obesity, and type 1 diabetes.
However, in neighboring Orange County, health officials have been ordered by the state not to add any additional health conditions to qualify more people to be shot, said Molly Nichelson, a county spokeswoman.
Eyal Oren, associate professor of epidemiology at San Diego State University, said the vaccination system has changed a lot due to the increased supply.
“It’s a very rapidly changing landscape,” he said in an interview prior to the governor’s announcement on Thursday. “It’s just quick and a lot happens.”
Oren said it was important to prioritize people at higher risk for the virus to make sure they can get their shots quickly. But more vaccinations are also a good thing, he said.
“We are in this race for more immunity,” he said.