coronavirus pandemic

California's Vaccine Eligibility Expansion Brings Hope to Mourning Families

California has reached a hopeful milestone. For the first time, every person 16 years and older who want to get a vaccine finally can

NBC Universal, Inc.

After more than a year of anxiety that the coronavirus could take another member of her family, Blanca Velazquez is finally breathing a lot easier. 

“I see a little light at the end of the tunnel now,” said Blanca Velazquez, Southbay resident. “I just wish my parents were here to witness this too.”

Velazquez lost both her parents to COVID-19. They died within hours of each other in February. 

For Blanca and her three other siblings it was extremely important they make sure the entire family gets vaccinated as soon as possible. 

With eligibility now open to everyone 16 and older, Velazquez says they're finally closer to making that happen.

“I see a light and it may not be today or tomorrow but it will be soon,” said Velazquez.

For Alberto Zuniga, the news also brings hope that fewer families will have to go through what he went through.

“It's very painful, there's nothing more painful than losing a loved one," said Alberto Zuniga, Southbay resident.

Zuniga's entire family contracted the virus. Everyone recovered except his father who lost his battle to COVID-19 in January.

“The vaccine is out there now, if they can take the vaccine, they won't have to go through this,” said Zuniga.

Heartbreak that for the past year has been all too common in our community. 

Since Feb. 14, 2020, more than 3,648 San Diegans have lost their lives to the coronavirus in San Diego County. 

“Hopefully everyone takes advantage of the vaccine and takes their dose because that is the only way I think we’ll get out of this,” said Zuniga. “We’re getting closer, we’re getting closer.”

An expansion of eligibility brings hope that we are one step closer to normalcy.

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