California will expand access to the coronavirus vaccines to everyone over 65 in a bid to speed up immunizations.
“There is no higher priority than efficiently and equitably distributing these vaccines as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. “Individuals 65 and older are now the next group eligible to start receiving vaccines.”
Starting next week, Californians can register for a statewide notification platform that will alert them to when they will be eligible for their shots. Newsom also said Wednesday that the alert system will help the state to “run mass vaccination events.”
Newsom’s announcement comes on the heels of new federal guidance out Tuesday that urged states to make shots available to as many people as possible rather than risk wasting unused doses meant for nursing home residents and front-line healthcare workers.
The Trump administration is now recommending that states vaccinate everyone over 65 and those with serious health conditions.
The national rollout got off to a slow start in December, when the federal government fell short of its goal to administer 20 million shots by the end of the year. California’s vaccine rollout has been one of the slowest in the United States, with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showing that the state has used less than a quarter of its roughly 3.3 million doses.
“To those not yet eligible for vaccines, your turn is coming,” Newsom said. “We are doing everything we can to bring more vaccine into the state.”