State's top health official explains why verification won't be required for next vaccine group

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- You can expect a significant increase in COVID-19 vaccine doses in early April. That's the message from California's public health director Dr. Tomás Aragón.

ABC7 news anchor Kristen Sze talked with Dr. Aragón one-on-one on Friday to get updates on the vaccine, distribution and what's next. We know starting Monday, vaccines will be available to people between the ages of 16 and 64 who have disabilities or severe underlying conditions. We also know that those people won't be required to show proof of eligibility, Dr. Aragón explains why they won't be doing any enforcement. "That was just another hurdle. Of course, we're concerned that some people may try to jump the line, but we're trying to balance the challenges of how to get people vaccinated. Verification is an additional roadblock logistically."

Dr. Aragón also referred back to the early April period where we'll go from 1.2 million doses per week up to 4 million meaning verification wouldn't be necessary. He also cautioned that just because you're becoming eligible that doesn't mean you'll get an appointment the next day.

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So, who's next after that? Dr. Aragón says age is the quickest and easiest way to get people vaccinated, and while he couldn't confirm people between the ages of 50-64 would be next, he seemed confident that is in the ballpark. So when will this happen? That's still to be determined. He says it's too soon to tell and they'll have to look at the pace and supply. He added that they have analysts dedicated to looking at and projecting all this out.

As far as if the state is ready, Dr. Aragón says they're going to have all systems in place. He cited Blue Shield as a third-party administrator, but many counties aren't jumping on board. "We're focusing on the whole state," Dr. Aragón said. "There's negotiation going back-and-forth and there's a transition period."

When it comes to the best vaccine, Dr. Aragón said it's "the first one that gets in your arm. That's how we're going to get out of this pandemic."

You can watch the interview in the video above.

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