California is trying quickly to vaccinate millions of Californians in the most vulnerable parts of the state.
State leaders say once this happens more parts of the economy can reopen, but Governor Gavin Newsom says the state’s efforts so far to make vaccine distribution equitable have fallen short.
The administration is getting more specific with who it’s targeting and providing an incentive for the entire state.
“We have to be bolder and we have to go bigger,” Newsom said.
Newsom’s administration will start dedicating 40 percent of its vaccine supply to those eligible living in the most vulnerable zip codes in California.
The state defines its most vulnerable parts as the bottom quartile of California’s healthy places index — communities considered low-income or hardest hit by the pandemic.
Many of those areas are in the San Joaquin Valley, where Newsom visited Thursday.
“To add insult to injury, households earning over $120,000 have twice the access to vaccines than those communities disproportionately impacted,” he said. “That’s what we have to reconcile. We have to own up to that.”
Newsom’s administration says it’s trying.
The state officials say about 1.6 million doses have been distributed in these targeted areas.
To incentivize even more vaccines among the vulnerable, once 2 million doses have been distributed, it will trigger rule changes for the red tier.
They expect this to happen within the next two weeks.
The red tier currently requires no more than seven cases per 100,000 per day. That would change it to 10 cases per 100,000 a day, making it easier for even more parts of the state to reopen shuttered parts of the economy.
State officials also say they will expand the amount of outdoor activities allowed in this tier but wouldn’t get specific Thursday.
“The focus of our blueprint refresh is to focus on what we’ve learned over the last many months. Six months ago, we didn’t realize outdoor activities with masks on and physical distancing are safe as can be done,” state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. “So really, supporting that in our blueprint, always trying to be a state that learns first, learns the fastest and adapts to what we’re seeing in the evidence.”
State leaders say they plan on releasing details of the blueprint refresh within the next couple of days.