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California expanding COVID vaccine access to everyone 16-plus in mid-April

REGION – COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to everyone in the state aged 50 and older beginning April 1, then to everyone aged 16 and up on April 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today, saying vaccine supply is expected to quickly skyrocket.

The state has been receiving roughly 1.8 million doses a week, but the state anticipates receiving 2.5 million weekly doses by early April, then more than 3 million per week by the end of that month.

“With vaccine supply increasing and by expanding eligibility to more Californians, the light at the end of the tunnel continues to get brighter,” Newsom said.

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility has been slowly expanding in the state in recent weeks. Most recently, eligibility was extended to people aged 16 and over with serious underlying health conditions that put them at risk of severe illness or death from COVID. An array of essential workers are already eligible for vaccines, such as teachers and food workers. Health care workers were the first to be given access to the vaccine, and everyone in the state aged 65 and over is already eligible.

Thursday’s announcement means everyone in the state aged 16 and up will be eligible for the shots in mid-April. However, given the state’s vast population, it will still take months to provide the vaccines to everyone who wants one.

Newsom said the state will have the capacity to administer 4 million shots per week by the end of April.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health and human services director, said the announcement means “we are even closer to putting this pandemic behind us.”

“However, we are not there yet,” he said. “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.”

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