SACRAMENTO — California health officials are reshuffling priorities to allow anyone older than the age of 65 to receive COVID-19 vaccines, as demand among healthcare workers continues to decrease.
“There is no higher priority than efficiently and equitably distributing these vaccines as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences,” Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. “Individuals 65 and older are now the next group eligible to start receiving vaccines.”
The move comes as an increasing number of states shift from inoculating frontline workers to the elderly, as Covid-19 has proven to be deadly to people over 65 and not nearly as fatal to younger people.
States including California initially followed guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which had recommended prioritizing frontline workers and states, instituting a bureaucratic process to ensure the appropriate individuals received shots and people didn’t jump the line.
But on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urged states to shift priorities as such rules were slowing a process that requires urgency and efficiency in getting COVID-19 vaccines into arms.
“With our hospitals crowded and ICUs full, we need to focus on vaccinating Californians who are at highest risk of becoming hospitalized to alleviate stress on our health care facilities,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of the California Department of Public Health. “Prioritizing individuals age 65 and older will reduce hospitalizations and save lives.”
This is a developing story.
— By Matthew Renda, CNS