The distribution of the coronavirus vaccine in California continues to be scarce and complicated despite thousands of residents already getting their first shots.
State officials have recently announced plans to try and curb the confusion with the rollout efforts. They are aiming to have better monitoring of the vaccinations and reopening of schools across the region. Authorities also announced eligibility requirements to get injected with the treatment.
California State Governor Gavin Newsom recently addressed the major factor hampering vaccination efforts; limited and inconsistent supply. Several counties were forced to shut down mass vaccination sites due to the scarcity of vaccine doses.
Officials circumvented the issue by moving to a broad age category when deciding who to vaccinate over the previously strict tiered system. California allowed residents aged 65 and older to get the shots starting last month.
However, the decision received criticism from activists saying there were many between the ages of 16 and 64 with underlying health conditions that placed them at great risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. The outcry forced officials to allow people that fit in the category to also be included in the prioritization of vaccination lists.
“I want the disability community to know, we’ve heard you, and we’re going to do more and better to provide access, even with the scarcity of vaccines,” said Newsom on Friday during a visit to Moscone Center, which was turned into a mass vaccination site.
Once the supply of coronavirus vaccine becomes more accessible, health care workers, nursing home residents and staff, food and agriculture sector workers, educators and child care providers, emergency service workers, and residents aged 65 and older would be able to get their vaccine shots.
California officials announced a partnership with Blue Shield on Monday which aims to speed up the distribution of the coronavirus vaccines. Experts said that the process was slowed down due to over-reliance on local public health departments that have been struggling amid the high number of cases.
The coordination with Blue Shield also aims to address the issue of disproportionate prioritization of vaccinations in foreign communities. For example, the Latinx community accounted for 61% of total cases in the United States. But among people who have been inoculated, they are only numbered at 16%, the New York Times reported.
The solve the problem, Blue Shield will develop an algorithm to automate the distribution of vaccines to health care providers and how best to prioritize appointments at vaccination sites. The effort is expected to bring 95% of residents within 30 minutes of a vaccine if they are in urban areas or 60 minutes if they are within rural areas.
Officials aim to administer more than three million doses every week by March 1, doubling the current rate statewide. By April, the coordinated effort is anticipated to provide at least four million vaccinations per week.