Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that California has now surpassed the 80% mark of eligible Californians aged 12 and up receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking at a vaccination clinic in Oakland, Newsom contributed the rapidly growing number of Californians being vaccinated to the numerous vaccination mandates passed during the last few months, including both local and statewide mandates for state workers, health care workers, teachers and school staff, college students, and several other professions. Compared to mid-July, the mandates have caused a 44.7% increase in the number of vaccinations administered, including 643,000 in the last week alone. California’s 80% one dose rate is also now higher compared to the rest of the country which, according to the CDC, sits at roughly 72% for those 12 and up.
“Getting vaccinated is the key to protecting against COVID-19 and the faster-spreading Delta variant – it’s how we end this thing.” said Governor Newsom on Tuesday. “California has put more shots in arms than any other state. We’ve made incredible progress vaccinating our population in a remarkably short amount of time, and our work continues to close the gap in our most impacted communities.”
While the news of California’s growing vaccination rate was generally positively received on Tuesday, many political experts noted that the timing of Newsom’s announcement, as well as his more extensive media outreach for recent announcements, have been in part to help him defeat the recall.
“It’s not to say that the state reaching an 80% vaccination isn’t big. It is,” noted former lobbyist Harry Schultz to the Globe on Tuesday. “It’s more to do with the timing. And, all incumbents do this. Right before an election they trot out their successes or give out tax breaks or something else positive to help sway voters minds. In the last few months Newsom has had big announcements with extending the rent moratorium and new grants for businesses. And look, this week he had the vaccination increase and stimulus payments going out.
“And this, plus a lot of ad buys about the recall, have been swinging thing more his way. Earlier this month, Newsom was barely ahead in the recall. Now look – he has about a 6 point lead now. Today’s announcement, while news-worthy, was also kind of hyped up more than usual and put on more of a positive spin. Newsom is using everything in his arsenal right now, and if that includes making everything he does seem as positive as possible, he’ll do it.
“The election is still close, so any more announcements like these in the next two weeks, expect them to be spun and made very positive the same way.”
With mandate ‘vaccinate by’ dates quickly approaching for many, and new mandates likely to be put in place soon, such as one requiring vaccinations for all LA students above the age of 12, vaccination rates are expected to climb even higher in September.