Starting Thursday, Californians age 16 and older are eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine -- including those in San Diego County.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on March 25 that the nation’s most populous state would expand its eligibility on April 15, two weeks after vaccine eligibility expanded for anyone 50 and over.
Already some counties have opened up vaccine appointments to younger adults ahead of the date, minus for San Diego County. It now joins other regions across the state in expanding vaccine eligibility to everyone over 16 years old.
Anyone who is 16 or 17 years old must select from a local vaccination site offering the Pfizer vaccine only and have their parent or legal guardian schedule their appointment to provide consent to receive the vaccine. Any San Diegans who go to a no-appointment site for their vaccine must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to provide consent for their to get the vaccine.
To inspire fellow San Diegans to get their vaccine, Mayor Todd Gloria received his first dose Thursday at the San Diego Municipal Gymnasium in Balboa Park.
"Personally, it feels great," he said after getting his shot. "I know that this is going to be a feeling that a lot of San Diegans will experience. I just hope that they will take advantage of the opportunity."
He went on to urge residents to share their own vaccine experience with loved ones to ensure them that the process is seamless. He added that getting as many residents vaccinated as possible is how the public can overcome the pandemic.
“At the end of the day, we’re rapidly coming to a place where there’s really no excuse why folks can’t get vaccinated and this is our collective obligation to one another," Mayor Gloria said. "To all the many, many people who have given their lives as a part of this pandemic, we owe it to them to make sure we defeat COVID-19 and get back to our daily lives.”
The expansion comes as the county halted its distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine after the federal government recommended a pause to investigate rare blood clots that were reported in six women. The six cases are among more than 6.8 million doses of J&J’s vaccine administered.
Despite the blow, Gov. Newsom assured Californians on Tuesday that the halt would not “materially impact our ability to fulfill our expectations," on getting residents vaccinated.
San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher reiterated that statement.
"It’s a minor disruption but we want to make sure we’re safe,” he said. “And we want to make sure this is being done right and so we will continue ahead with Moderna and Pfizer, which represents a vast majority of vaccines in San Diego County.”
Those who were scheduled to receive J&J’s vaccine will be rescheduled to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot.
California's official vaccine expansion is on par with the state's targeted reopening date of June 15. Newsom announced earlier this month that the tentative reopening is dependent on if the state has enough vaccine supply to inoculate those who are interested and if hospitalization rates remain low and stable.