Here's why California may not expand vaccine eligibility for another month

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There are increasing signs from state health officials that California won't move to the next tier of COVID vaccine eligibility for at least a month.

That means Californians over 50 or those working in some jobs deemed essential may have to wait weeks longer to get even a first dose of protection.

"It's too soon to tell," said Dr. Tomas Aragon, director of the California Department of Public Health. "We're going to look at supply, we have analysts who are projecting all of this out and we're going to be seeing how many people are getting vaccinated. That really helps determine when we'll make the next announcement."

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Meantime, California will target its existing supply to those currently eligible, especially in communities hit hardest by the virus, and where vaccine distribution is lagging.

For Californians between 50 and 65 hoping to become eligible sooner than later, it appears vaccine sites may be closed to them for at least a few more weeks, when states like Texas, Indiana and Ohio have already moved to age 50.

"Here at least Northern California, we've really been abiding by everything, social distancing, the masks," said Maureen O'Regan, who told us she's hearing from younger friends and family in Texas that are already vaccinated. "So I just hate to be behind in the vaccines, when we've really done everything that we should've done all along."

RELATED: How can I register for a COVID-19 vaccine in California?

If California doesn't make the next group eligible for another month, it begs the question, whether the state can really be ready to make adults in all age groups eligible by May 1st, the target date announced last week by President Joe Biden.

"So the real question is, when will there be enough vaccine to open up to the general population?" said Dr. Mike Wasserman, who sits on the California Vaccine Advisory Committee. "I think it's going to be close to May sometime, but I don't know if we know the exact date."


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