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California opens COVID-19 vaccines for 65 and older



California is immediately allowing residents 65 and older to receive scarce coronavirus vaccines, Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday. The move puts seniors in line for relief workers, teachers, childcare providers and food and farm workers, though counties are complaining that they do not already have enough doses to go around. “There is no higher priority than distributing these vaccines effectively and as quickly as possible to those facing the most serious consequences,” Newsom said in a statement. “For those who are not yet eligible for vaccines, your turn is coming. We are doing everything we can to bring more vaccine into the state. “While health care workers and those in nursing homes and other community centers can still be vaccinated, government officials are extending the program to those 65 and older because they are at greatest risk of being hospitalized and dying. Orange County had already said it would quickly move to vaccinate people 65 and older. California has seen virus cases and hospitalizations explode since Thanksgiving, though the number has been flat in recent days. It reported a further 589 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to 31

,102. It registered 33,751 new infections, some of which will inevitably lead to more hospitalizations and deaths. “With our overcrowded hospitals and ICUs full, we need to focus on vaccinating Californians who are most at risk of being hospitalized to reduce stress at our health facilities,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, Director of the California Department of Public Health and the State Public Health Officer. “Prioritizing people 65 and older will reduce hospitalizations and save lives.” The movements follow recommendations Tuesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But that comes after members of a state advisory panel on Tuesday were concerned that adding seniors would inevitably delay vaccines for others. Anthony Wright, executive director of the consumer access group Health Access California, said he generally prefers to move toward vaccinating elderly residents, but he was among those who said the expansion could further strain the state’s already delayed rollout of scarce vaccines. “This is a very tough conversation about compromises,” he said. Adding aging “does not mean we are giving up our commitment” to those already queuing for vaccines, panel co-chair California California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine said Burke Harris later. “We work together to solve multiple challenges at the same time.” Newsom also announced a new system to tell people if they are eligible to receive a vaccine starting next week. If residents are not yet eligible, the system allows them to sign up for a text or email notification when they are. A “second phase” of this system will help counties and cities that have begun mass inoculation centers at sports stadiums and amusement parks by having qualified members of the public plan their appointments at trade fair vaccination events. Newsom set a goal last week to deliver an additional 1 million doses by Friday in addition to the approximately 480,000 that had been administered last week. It is still a small part of what is needed for herd immunity in the state of nearly 40 million people. Despite its difficulties, the state on Tuesday lifted its residency order for 13 northern counties in the greater Sacramento region with improved hospital conditions. The region includes El Dorado County, home of Lake Tahoe, a hotspot for tourism that attracted large numbers of vacationers despite restrictions. However, three out of five state regions – the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California – remain during the stay – home orders because their hospitals’ intensive care capacity is severely limited. The order bans gatherings outside a household and restricts many businesses. With virus cases and hospitalizations more stable, the Sacramento region can resume outdoor dining and worship services, reopen hair and nail salons and other businesses, and increase the capacity of retailers. Collections up to three households are allowed. Recently reported cases in the last seven days in the country’s most populous state have far surpassed others, such as Texas and Florida – the second and third largest populated US states. Over the past seven days, California’s average daily rate for new cases per 100,000 people behind Arizona and Rhode Island, however, and ties to Oklahoma .___ Associated Press writers Janie Har in San Francisco, Amy Taxin in Orange County and Don Thompson and Adam Beam in Sacramento contributed.

California is immediately allowing residents 65 and older to receive scarce coronavirus vaccines, Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.

The move puts seniors in line for relief workers, teachers, childcare providers and food and farm workers, though counties are complaining that they do not already have enough doses to go around.

“There is no higher priority than distributing these vaccines effectively and as quickly as possible to those facing the most serious consequences,” Newsom said in a statement. “For those who are not yet eligible for vaccines, your turn is coming. We are doing everything we can to bring more vaccine into the state. ”

While health workers and people in nursing homes and other community centers can still be vaccinated, government officials are extending the program to those 65 and older because they are at greatest risk of being hospitalized and dying. Orange County had already said it would quickly move to vaccinate people 65 and older.

California has seen virus cases and hospitalizations explode since Thanksgiving, though the number has been flat in recent days.

It reported a further 589 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to 31,102. It registered 33,751 new infections, some of which will inevitably lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.

“With our overcrowded hospitals and ICUs full, we need to focus on vaccinating Californians who are most at risk of being hospitalized to reduce stress at our health facilities,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, Director of the California Department of Public Health and the State Public Health Officer. “Prioritizing people 65 and older will reduce hospitalizations and save lives.”

The movements follow recommendations Tuesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it comes after members of a state advisory panel on Tuesday worried that adding seniors would inevitably delay vaccines for others.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the consumer access group Health Access California, said he generally preferred to move toward vaccinating elderly residents, but he was among those who said the expansion could further strain the state’s already delayed rollout of scarce vaccines.

“This is a very tough conversation about compromises,” he said.

Adding aging “does not mean we are giving up our commitment” to those already in line for vaccines, said the panel’s co-chair, California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris later. “We work together to solve multiple challenges at the same time.”

Newsom also announced a new system to tell people if they are eligible to receive a vaccine starting next week.

If residents are not yet eligible, the system allows them to sign up for a text or email message when they are.

A “second phase” of this system will help counties and cities that have started mass vaccination centers at sports stadiums and amusement parks by having qualified members of the public plan their appointments at mass vaccination events.

Newsom set a goal last week to deliver an additional 1 million doses by Friday in addition to the approximately 480,000 that had been administered last week. It is still a small part of what is needed for herd immunity in the state of nearly 40 million people.

Despite its difficulties, the state on Tuesday lifted its residency order for 13 northern counties in the greater Sacramento region with improved hospital conditions. The region includes El Dorado County, home of Lake Tahoe, a hotspot for tourism that attracted large numbers of vacationers despite restrictions.

However, three out of five state regions – the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California – remain in the home state because their hospitals’ intensive care facilities are severely limited.

The order bans gatherings outside a household and restricts many businesses. With virus cases and hospitalizations more stable, the Sacramento region can resume outdoor dining and worship services, reopen hair and nail salons and other businesses, and increase the capacity of retailers. Collections up to three households are allowed.

Recently reported cases over the past seven days in the country’s most populous state have far surpassed others, such as Texas and Florida – the second- and third-largest populated U.S. states. Over the past seven days, California’s average daily rate for new cases per 100,000 people, however, behind Arizona and Rhode Island and ties with Oklahoma.

___

Associated Press writers Janie Har in San Francisco, Amy Taxin in Orange County and Don Thompson and Adam Beam in Sacramento contributed.


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