SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGTV) — California is now allowing residents 65 and older to get the coronavirus vaccine, after a slow start to the state's rollout of the vaccine.
The state's move to increase those eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by about 6.6 million Californians, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
"We are significantly increasing our efforts to get these vaccines administered, get them out of freezers and get them into peoples' arms," Newsom said in a statement announcing the change. "One of the most significant things we can do is increase the number of people eligible to receive the vaccine."
The change will place eligible seniors in line to receive a vaccine before emergency workers, teachers, childcare providers, and food and agriculture workers in the first tier of Phase 1B distribution.
Those under Phase 1A, including health care workers and those who work or live in congregate care facilities, can still receive a vaccination — about 3 million residents.
Monday, Newsom said the state had only administered about one-third of the nearly 2.5 million vaccine doses it has received. Some delay has been attributed to health care workers who didn't want to immediately get the vaccine.
This week, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said that the federal is recommending that states expand those eligible for a coronavirus vaccine and that the federal government would not be holding back the second dose of the two-dose vaccines.
Azar said in the unlikely event of a supply chain glitch, the HHS will direct states to slow distribution to make sure everyone who has received their first shot will get their second.