California to roll out new age-based guidelines for COVID-19 vaccinations

California Connection

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – California’s recent 10-day push to get residents vaccinated tripled the weekday vaccination numbers to 125,000.

But state officials are worried the uptick is not fast enough, even as President Joe Biden’s administration pledged to get more vaccines to the states.

“We don’t know at this moment how much we’ll get,” State Government Operations Secretary Yolanda Richardson told FOX40 Tuesday. 

Richardson is tasked with coming up with a state vaccination network that will use a third-party administrator to coordinate vaccinations, where prior efforts have been confusing so far.

“Mixed messages, variability of eligibility across the state, ‘When is it my turn?’” Richardson said.

The new age-based guidelines can cut down on that confusion, but doses to low-income and ethnic communities will still be set aside because they get the virus more frequently.

“Not just on age, but on exposure to ensure those populations are taken care of,” explained Dr. Mark Ghaly, the California Health and Human Services Secretary.

The new guidelines may mean that younger people in more vulnerable jobs may have to wait.

State officials said hospitals, clinics, health providers and pharmacies that are getting the most people vaccinated will get priority for delivery of doses.

Officials are also keeping an eye on virus variants that are showing up in California because that could mean a different vaccine protocol.

“If the variant is faster and more transmissible, if it becomes more virulent in a way — of course, that gives us great concern,” Ghaly said.

The good news is that hospital visits, intensive care unit capacity and infection rates are trending downwards from the holiday period spike.

Officials hope a more efficient vaccination program can only continue the trend, regardless of the supply problems.

“The supply we have now needs to get administered as quickly as possible,” Richardson said.

The state is moving forward with a new data system that will keep track of who has been vaccinated and when.

The system, called My Turn, is meant to help people determine when it’s their turn to get the vaccine but must still undergo testing and trials in certain areas of the state.

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