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Starting April 15, anyone aged 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Expanded eligibility means more shots in arms, and less people being hospitalized with severe illness.
In a statement released on March 25, Newsom’s office announced that eligibility for the vaccine would expand to Californians 16 and older based on projected supply numbers for the upcoming weeks. “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,” the statement explained, further informing that, “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 state office also pledged to address the inequality between tax groups and the vaccines received. They reported that “the rate of infections for households making less than $40,000 per year (5.7) is 84 percent higher than that of households with an income of $120,000 or more (3.1),” and that, simultaneously, our “wealthiest” residents “have received 50 percent more vaccinations when compared to the rate of our most vulnerable populations.” As more doses come in and vaccine centers expand, California hopes to balance the numbers between all tax brackets.
The process for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine still begins on myturn.ca.gov, which determines eligibility by a questionnaire. Once the questionnaire is completed, the site will determine if an individual qualifies for a vaccine. After this step, respondents proceed to input necessary information to secure an appointment at one of the vaccination sites. You cannot get an appointment if a vaccine distribution center does not have an open spot. This means that traveling further than your closest vaccine distribution site to receive your dose may be necessary.
Pfizer and Moderna are going strong in terms of providing consistent supply, while Johnson and Johnson is experiencing some instability. J&J announced they would be allocating 86 percent less vaccines to states this week than the week before. This comes from varying numbers of vaccines manufactured per week and not from the mix-up of ingredients at an Emergent BioSolutions manufacturing center. J&J distribute the total amount of vaccines they make, which varies week to week because the vaccines are made by humans.
Johnson and Johnson has encountered difficulties lately, as Georgia became the third state on April 10 to shut down manufacturing of the J&J Vaccine because of “adverse reactions.” CBS News reported that the potent vaccine caused dizziness, fainting, and nausea in Colorado recipients. Recipients in North Carolina also reported similar adverse reactions.
A rare reaction caused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to advise “a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.” Out of the six million Johnson and Johnson vaccines administered, six recipients experienced “cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).” Those who had symptoms were also experiencing thrombocytopenia.
The CDC and FDA reported, in their statement released on April 13, that “this is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot. Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.” California is among 30 states who have stopped administration of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Aside from the technical issues posed by Johnson and Johnson, The Biden Administration’s new goal of 200,000,000 vaccines administered by his 100 days in office benchmark (which will be on April 30) still seems to be something that can be accomplished.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Al Seib / Los Angeles Times