Beginning Monday, millions of Californians with preexisting health conditions as well as disabilities will be eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine.
With a shortage of supplies, however, getting a shot could be difficult.
Here is what you need to know:
Who is eligible?
People ages 16 to 64 can be eligible if they are deemed to be at the very highest risk to get very sick from COVID-19. The state is also expanding eligibility to people who live or work in incarceration facilities or homeless shelters, as well as public transit workers, including airport workers for commercial airlines. In L.A. County, the entire homeless population will be eligible, regardless of shelter status.
The high-risk group includes 10 categories: people with cancer; chronic kidney disease of Stage 4 or above; chronic pulmonary disease; Down syndrome; compromised immune system from solid organ transplant; pregnancy; sickle cell disease; heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathies (excluding hypertension); severe obesity; and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
With population estimates for the group at about 4.4. million and with other eligible groups totaling some 13 million, nearly half of all Californians will now be eligible for a vaccine.
The state on Thursday also offered specific examples of people who would qualify for eligibility but are not explicitly listed.
Those include people who use regional centers, independent living centers, in-home supportive services, community-based adult services, Medi-Cal HIV/AIDS waivers, Medi-Cal home and community-based alternatives waivers, Medi-Cal assisted living waivers, all-inclusive care programs for the elderly, California children’s services programs if the client is 16 to 21 years old, and California genetically handicapped persons programs.
How do I get a vaccine?
Officials are urging residents to work with their healthcare providers to seek vaccinations as their first step.
“Check first with your usual healthcare provider to see if they have vaccines and available appointments. Healthcare providers who have vaccines may also begin reaching out to you, as a patient with a significant, high-risk medical condition or disability known to the provider, to schedule your vaccine appointment,” the state said.
Other options include local pharmacies, local health departments, community pop-up clinics or using the My Turn website. Access details:
- Online at myturn.ca.gov. The MyTurn website is accessible to people with disabilities and in eight languages: English, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese.
- Calling the COVID-19 hotline at (833) 422-4255 from 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. Monday-Friday or 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.