SACRAMENTO, Calif .– (AP) – California will provide 40% of all vaccine doses to the state’s most vulnerable neighborhoods to vaccinate those most at risk from the coronavirus and open up the state’s economy faster.
Two officials from Governor Gavin Newsom’s government shared details on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
The cans are distributed to 400 postcodes, with around 8 million people being eligible for photos. Many of the neighborhoods are concentrated in Los Angeles County and the Central Valley. The areas are considered the most vulnerable based on metrics such as household income, educational level, housing status and access to transport.
Once 2 million doses of vaccine have been dispensed in these neighborhoods, the state will make it easier for counties to move through reopening stages that will require businesses and schools to reopen.
Currently, a county can move from the most restrictive purple to the lower red tier based on several metrics, including 7 or fewer new COVID cases per 100,000 people per day over a period of several weeks. This metric will change in 10 new cases or less. In the red row, businesses such as restaurants and gyms with limited capacity can be opened for indoor services.
Even in the red class, schools that want access to new state funds must offer students in transition kindergarten to 6th grade and at least one class each in middle and high school personal learning.
About 1.6 million doses of vaccine have already been given to people in those 400 zip codes, and the state will hit the 2 million mark in the next week or two, officials said.
As soon as the state distributes 4 million cans in these neighborhoods, it will revise the metrics for entry into the even less restrictive orange and yellow levels.
Newsom has named Equity the state’s “North Star”. However, community health clinics, which focus on caring for low-income and vulnerable Californians, say they weren’t given enough doses.
The changes mark a new round in California’s vaccination and reopening plans. People aged 65 and over, farm workers, educators and rescue workers are also authorized to shoot.
More districts have already reached the red level as the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are falling. The state’s average test positivity rate of 2.2% over 7 days is a record low.
Officials are making it easier to move through levels reopening, arguing that as more people are vaccinated, the likelihood of widespread transmission that can overwhelm hospitals will decrease. This is especially true as the most vulnerable populations who are more likely to get seriously ill will receive the shots.
While race and ethnicity are not explicit factors in the designation of vaccinations, the 400 endangered postcodes strongly overlap with districts with a higher population of blacks, Latinos and islanders from Asia and the Pacific.
Los Angeles County could move into the next phase of reopening as early as next week with fewer restrictions, although an actual lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions would not come immediately, government officials said earlier Wednesday.
Most of the San Francisco Bay Area counties have moved into the next phase, which will open restaurants and movie theaters with 25% indoor capacity and gyms with 10% open capacity.