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More Californians are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday

Beginning March 15, vaccinations are available to those with certain health conditions and disabilities that put them at higher risk for serious COVID-19 illness.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — On Monday, vaccine eligibility will expand again, this time to San Diegans with underlying health conditions, subject to vaccine availability. Eligibility opened Monday to county residents in Phase 1C. That means those age 16 or older with chronic and high-risk health conditions can get vaccinated, according to San Diego County's website

Vaccinations are available to those with certain health conditions, disabilities, illness, living spaces, or work environments that put them at higher risk for serious COVID-19 illness. 

Who Can Get Vaccinated Now?

People ages 16-64 deemed to be at the very highest risk to get very sick from COVID-19.

EITHER because they have one or more of the following severe health conditions:

  • 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%

OR if, as a result of a developmental or other significant, high-risk disability, one or more of the following criteria applies**:

  • A COVID-19 infection is likely to result in severe life-threatening illness or death; OR
  • Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival; OR
  • Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability.

Additional Eligible Medical Conditions:

Those with the following conditions might be at an increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19; therefore they are also eligible for COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
  • Obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2, but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Additional Eligible Groups:

  • Congregate residential settings, such as an incarceratio­n/detention facilities, homeless shelters, or behavioral health facilities
    • Includes people experiencing homelessness, who may transition into congregate settings at short notice­­­
  • Public transit workers, including airport workers for commercial airlines (but not private airplanes)

For more information about how the phases are being implemented in California, click here

With Sunday's data, the total number of cases in the county rose to 265,471 and the death toll edged up to 3,452. Of 10,349 tests reported Sunday, 2% returned positive. There were three community outbreaks reported Sunday with 15 reported in the last seven days. Cases associated with those outbreaks totaled 55.

All told, 709,220 -- or 26.4% of San Diego County residents over the age of 16 -- have received at least one dose of the two-shot vaccines and 430,376 people -- or 16% -- have been fully vaccinated.

A possible change to California's COVID-19 reopening schedule could have San Diego County promoted to the less-restrictive red tier by as early as Wednesday, according to county officials.

California's Department of Public Health modified the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to lead with opening activities when vaccines have been deployed to the hardest-hit communities. The modification will shift Blueprint tier thresholds to allow slightly higher case rates per 100,000 population once more inoculations have occurred in the communities suffering the most, allowing counties to move to less restrictive tiers.

The initial goal of the vaccine equity metric is to deliver a minimum of 2 million doses to the hardest-hit quarter of the state as measured by the Healthy Places Index. The state estimates it will deliver the 2 million doses to that quartile this week.

The floor for the most restrictive, purple tier will move to 10 daily cases per 100,000 population once the state hits that benchmark. As of Tuesday's state update, San Diego County has a case rate of 8.8 per 100,000 -- enough to qualify for one week of the proposed changed red tier.

Fletcher said he was confident the numbers would allow San Diego County to post a sub-10 case rate on Tuesday, allowing the county to enter the red tier by as early as Wednesday.

The red tier will feature a limited allowance of indoor dining, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses and services.  

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