Citing an expected increase in supply, California health officials announced Thursday that all state residents age 16 and above will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting April 15. Residents 50 and above can get their shots beginning April 1.
“The light at the end of the tunnel continues to get brighter,” said Governor Gavin Newsom in a statement.
“We remain focused on equity as we extend vaccine eligibility to those older than 50 starting April 1, and those older than 16 starting April 15. This is possible thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris administration and the countless public health officials across the state who have stepped up to get shots into arms.”
Health officials cautioned, however, that it will still take months to get every Californian vaccinated, but that each week, millions are getting their doses.
During a virtual town hall earlier this week, Santa Barbara health leaders acknowledged the confusion and frustration experienced by many older residents as they’ve tried to schedule vaccination appointments. Every clinic, pharmacy, and hospital, it seems, uses their own registration system.
By the end of the month, Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso said, all agencies and organizations across the state will have switched to Blue Shield’s centralized MyTurn platform. That should greatly simplify things, she explained. Community members can also always call the county’s 2-1-1 helpline for assistance, she said.
As of Sunday, March 21, Santa Barbara County had distributed just over 142,000 doses of vaccine and was reporting that 11 percent of residents were fully vaccinated.
For more information, visit the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s website.
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