According to the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS), the rollout will be stagnated, with all residents aged 50 and older becoming eligible April 1st, followed by all 16-to-49-year-olds two weeks later.
The opening up to all adults follows a ramping up of how many vaccines California is being allocated. While the state currently receives 1.8 vaccine doses per week, 2.5 million per week are expected to come in starting in April, with over 3 million per week being expected by mid-April. State vaccine administration capacity is also expected to go up at the same time, with the current administration capacity of just over 3 million per week going up to 4 million per week by the end of April.
Despite the accelerated vaccination schedule, the governor still expects that it will take several months to vaccinate all adults in the state who want to receive a vaccination.
In a statement on Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom said that the new accelerated timeline would help meet President Joe Biden’s goal of all states allowing adults to get vaccinated by May 1st. The Governor also credited the Biden administration, in conjunction with state health agencies, for making the new accelerated California vaccination scheduling possible.
“With vaccine supply increasing and by expanding eligibility to more Californians, the light at the end of the tunnel continues to get brighter,” stated Governor Newsom on Thursday. “We remain focused on equity as we extend vaccine eligibility to those older than 50 starting April 1, and those older than 16 starting April 15. 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.”
Health officials reiterate need to continue following health, safety protocols until more vaccines are administered
Health officials also noted the state’s achievement, while also noting that residents should still be following correct health and safety protocols such as masks and social distancing for at least the near future due to the state only being around 20% vaccinated as of this week.
“We are even closer to putting this pandemic behind us with today’s announcement and with vaccine supplies expected to increase dramatically in the months ahead,” said CHHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly in a statement on Thursday. “However, we are not there yet. It will take time to vaccinate all eligible Californians. During this time, we must not let our guard down. It is important that we remain vigilant, continue to wear masks and follow public health guidance.”
Health experts also noted that despite California’s recent reductions in COVID-19 cases, they should not let their guard down yet.
“Cases are up in over half the states, with cases from around the world also continuing to go up,” Dr. Maria Perez explained to the Globe. “California offering vaccines to all adults is great, but we can’t stop not being compliant this close to the end. There are still a lot of non-vaccinated people out there and we have not reached herd immunity. I know Californians want everything to go back to normal, but by following health and safety protocols for a bit longer until most are vaccinated, we can ensure that there is no new resurgence. Or another statewide lockdown.”
All newly eligible Californians can begin making vaccination appointments in the next few weeks.