VA Covid  12-18-20 017

(Photo - Doug Jorgensen)

Gov. Gavin Newsom this week announced changes to California’s COVID-19 response plan designed to speed the pace of vaccination and improve the state’s ability to track vaccination data.

The governor said the changes would also make it easier for people to know when they are eligible to receive the vaccine and how to make an appointment.

“Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel,” Newsom said, “and I am focused on taking the steps needed to get Californians safely vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

At the start of the month, California was vaccinating about 43,000 people per day. By Jan. 15, that had increased to 131,620. In a news release, the governor’s office said the effort to ramp up vaccinations “exposed key improvements needed to administer even more vaccines when increased supply becomes available.”

According to the announcement, there will now be a single statewide standard for eligibility.

The state will continue vaccinating healthcare workers and those 65 and older, and it will prioritize those in emergency services, food and agriculture workers, teachers and school staff.

The state will then “transition to age-based eligibility, allowing California to scale up and down quickly, while ensuring vaccine goes to disproportionately impacted communities.”

California is also launching My Turn, a system designed to let people know when they are eligible to be vaccinated and to make an appointment, as well as let providers share data on the doses of the vaccines they have received and administered, reducing lag times. The Department of Public Health said it would reallocate doses of the vaccines if providers not used at least 65% of their supply on hand for a week and had not submitted a plan for administering the remaining doses within four days.

My Turn is currently being piloted in Los Angeles and San Diego counties and should be available statewide early next month, according to the announcement.

While California has received more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, enough for 2 million people at two doses each, the governor’s office noted there are 3 million health care workers and nursing home residents in the state, 6 million people age 65 and older, and 2.5 million who work in education and childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture.