Monday an estimated 4.4 million Californians will be added to the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility list.
The new list includes those with disabilities and health conditions that put them at risk of severe coronavirus infection. Like cancer, heart conditions, severe obesity, type 2 diabetes, and chronic kidney and pulmonary disease.
“Anyone who has a pre-existing medical condition can go to the county webpage [to check availability] or they can also go directly to their doctor,” said Dr. Edward Cachay, M.D., infectious disease specialist, UCSD.
For those with disabilities, eligibility could not have come soon enough.
According to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency: 96% of the people who have died from COVID-19 in San Diego had an underlying condition.
“It is absolutely important that you protect yourself by receiving whichever vaccine is available for you as soon as you can,” said Dr. Cachay.
The new eligibility list also includes people who live or work in high-risk environments like homeless shelters and detention facilities.
“It is a big group and the challenge is the demand and the supply,” said Dr. Cachay. “But there is hope because we are implementing this as soon as possible and hopefully in six weeks by May, 1 everyone would not have any issues is getting the vaccine.”
For now, the California Department of Public Health asks that residents not abuse the guidelines for at-risk people by faking eligibility.
“If you are one of those people that do want to cut in line, please keep in mind that there are other people that are fragile, that might need it more than you,” said Yurina Melara, public information officer with the California Department of Public Health.
Melara urges people to work with their healthcare providers to seek vaccinations as a first step.
For those without access to a health care provider, you can book your appointment through myturn.ca.gov.