California Approves Vaccines for High-risk Individuals Ages 16-64

WebMD Staff

February 16, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

California is expanding its coronavirus vaccine program to include people aged 16-64 with high-risk health conditions. As of March 15, health care providers can use their "clinical judgment" to vaccinate those with conditions that could lead to death or severe illness if they got infected, according to a provider bulletin from the state Department of Public Health.  

Some of those health conditions include cancer, chronic pulmonary disease, Down syndrome, an immunocompromised state, pregnancy, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Up to now, the state has only been vaccinating people 65 and over, health-care workers, and residents and staff at long-term nursing facilities.

The change will expand the pool of people eligible for the vaccine by 4-6 million, KABC reported. 

Meanwhile, California is experiencing a vaccine shortage in some locations.

Los Angeles had to close down five city-run vaccination sites including Dodger Stadium this weekend because it didn't have enough vaccine. Next week, most city clinics will be giving second doses of vaccine but not first doses.

California is the most populous state in the nation and has the highest coronavirus numbers — 3.47 million cases and more than 46,400 COVID-related deaths. More than 5.5 million doses of vaccine have been administered so far, the public health department says.

President Biden recently announced plans to open two federal mass vaccination centers in California ­— at California State University, Los Angeles, and Oakland Coliseum.

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