COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opened up to all Californians 16 and older on April 15.
By Anthony Lopez, Staff Writer
As COVID-19 infections continue to decline in California, vaccines have been made available to all individuals 16 years and older beginning April 15.
Californians 50 years and older became eligible for the vaccine on April 1, but now all residents 16 and older are eligible starting Thursday. The California Department of Public Health released a statement last week stating that individuals could go through their doctor to make vaccine appointments in advance as soon as they become eligible.
“Based on the current estimates, California expects to be allocated approximately 2.5 million first and second doses per week in the first half of April, and more than 3 million doses in the second half of April,” said state officials.
President Joe Biden also chimed in, stating in a recent CNN article that the United States would expand the number of pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Vaccination Program from the current 17,000 locations to 40,000. He also made an announcement in regards to a record 33 million doses that will be made available to vaccination sites within the upcoming weeks.
As of April 14, more than 23,312,818 doses have been administered, according to the Los Angeles Times. Federal data shows that in California, 39.1 percent of the population has received at least one dose. Nationwide, 192,282,781 doses have been administered with 36.8 percent of Americans receiving a first dose.
The vaccine is one of the most effective methods to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. The side effects that follow include a sore arm, fever, chills, muscle and headaches and fatigue. Fully vaccinated Americans can gather indoors with others, who have also been vaccinated, without wearing a mask or social distancing, according to the CDC. There are three vaccine brands available: Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.
According to Hopkins Medicine, both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines show approximately 95 percent efficacy at preventing both mild and severe symptoms of COVID-19 across all age, racial and ethnic groups as well as sexes. The use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused on Tuesday after health officials reviewed six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot among more than seven million people who received the shot.
According to indystar, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for emergency use authorization in individuals younger than 18 years old. Teenagers wanting to be vaccinated will need permission from a parent or guardian.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to qualify to get the vaccine because people are dying every day and it just shows me how much we take the virus for granted,” said 17-year-old California resident Alexandra Garcia-Perez. “Obviously don’t just count on the vaccine for safety and protection, but it’s one step closer to overcoming this pandemic and getting back to normalcy.”