Vaccine eligibility to expand to those ages 16-64 with underlying health conditions

Vaccine eligibility to expand to those ages 16-64 with underlying health conditions
Posted at 2:35 PM, Mar 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-14 21:17:38-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On Monday, an estimated 4.4 million Californians with health risks will become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In 2004, Karol Moore developed symptoms that lingered for months, including shortness of breath, swollen ankles and fatigue. Then came the rapid heartbeat.

"Couldn't walk more than five feet, before I felt like I ran a marathon," said Moore.

Moore was eventually diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, caused by a virus that attacks the heart. She still requires medication for the now chronic condition.
The condition forced her to isolate herself during the pandemic.

"Because of that, I chose to stay home and not to spend time with friends and family," said Moore.

On Monday, Moore becomes newly eligible for the COVID vaccine. Vaccine eligibility will expand to people ages 16 to 64 with specific disabilities or high-risk medical conditions, including cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic pulmonary disease, Down Syndrome and pregnancy.

But, supply remains an issue, so appointments will be limited.

The state's guidance says those who are eligible should first try to go through their health care provider. Providers with vaccines available will reach out to patients who qualify. Other options will include pharmacies, local health departments, community pop-up clinics, and the state's Myturn website.

People who qualify will not have to show documentation as proof. Instead, the state says they'll be asked to sign a self-attestation that they meet the criteria. Moore has already reached out to her doctor in hopes of getting the vaccine.

"I would still wear a mask and take all the precautions, but I would love to get back out there again. Gives me a lot more peace of mind so I can start seeing friends and family. I miss them." said Moore.

Here's the list the high-risk medical conditions or disabilities as part of the expanded vaccine eligibility:

  • Cancer, current with weakened immune system
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension)
  • Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%

The state on Monday is also expanding eligibility to those in homeless shelters, jails and prisons, along with public transit and airport employees.