Gov. Newsom aims to make COVID-19 vaccine available to all Californians by May

Posted at 12:30 PM, Mar 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-21 02:08:26-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGTV) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday that coronavirus vaccine eligibility will soon be expanding.

Newsom said he hopes to expand eligibility to all Californians within a matter of weeks.

“We’re anticipating within five and a half weeks where we can eliminate all of the tiering,” Newsom said.

That would mean all San Diegans could sign up to get the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says almost 24 percent of Californians have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Chief of Infectious Diseases at UC San Diego Dr. Davey Smith has been on the ground floor coordinating the vaccine roll out in San Diego and monitors trends.

"I do worry because Europe is hitting a third wave at the moment and I do not want to follow Europe at all," he said, putting even more emphasis on how important it is to get vaccinated.

Newsom's announcement comes after President Joe Biden directed all states to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all adults by May 1.

"If we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July 4, there's a good chance you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day," Biden said.

Smith said they're ready to take on the largest group of un-vaccinated San Diegans thanks to the effort of volunteers and healthcare workers. "It's really nice to see San Diegans coming together... We are probably the best in the state at getting people vaccinated so I'm pretty proud."

Smith said San Diego needs to vaccinate 80-90 percent of the community to stomp out the virus or it will circulate indefinitely.

Newsom hinted in a Thursday interview with the Associated Press the colored restriction tier system could also go away in the coming weeks. That could mean theme parks, bars and bowling alleys reopening.

When asked if removing the colored tier system could cause another spike in coronavirus cases in San Diego Smith replied, "I worry about it. I don't think it will but I think it is very much possible. So I hope that the governor and the team that is looking at this can reapply the brakes if they see a spike happening because I really don't want to have another wave."

Chief Disease Expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said children under 18-years-old should be able to get the vaccine early next year.