California Vaccine Eligibility to Expand in April
March 25, 2021
Governor Gavin Newsom announced sweeping changes to vaccine eligibility based on expected supply increases. Starting April 1, vaccine eligibility will expand to all Californians ages 50+. On April 15, eligibility expands broadly to all Californians ages 16+.
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. California currently receives about 1.8 million doses per week. These estimates may be adjusted as time goes on. The state has the capacity to administer more than 3 million vaccines per week and is building the capacity to administer 4 million vaccines weekly by the end of April.
The announcement came with a number of additional changes, including guidance that currently eligible populations will be prioritized for vaccines and providers will be allowed additional discretion in vaccinating those who live in high-impact areas (County Healthy Places Index Quartiles 1 and 2), including families.
Along with the expanded eligibility and to align with upcoming federal guidance, California will update its vaccine allocation methodology. This will transition over four weeks, beginning with the March 22 allocation (delivered to providers the following week), from one based on the distribution of the 65+ population, workers in the agriculture and food, education and child care, and emergency services sectors to one based on the distribution of the 16+ population across California. This will be done in conjunction with the completion of the shift to the state directly allocating vaccines to providers. The state will continue to double the amount of vaccine allocated to the lowest Healthy Places Index (HPI) quartile as announced on March 4.