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Newsom announces new strategy to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

To 'simplify and standardize'

OW Staff Writer | 1/29/2021, midnight
Gov. Gavin Newsom this week announced a series of improvements to...

Gov. Gavin Newsom this week announced a series of improvements to the state’s vaccination plan. Incorporating lessons learned from efforts to increase the pace of vaccination, these new steps will make it easier for people to know when they are eligible for vaccination and how to make an appointment, accelerate the administration of vaccines on hand and improve the state’s ability to track vaccination data.

California has tripled the pace of vaccinations from 43,459 per day on Jan. 4 to 131,620 on Jan. 5. The 10-day effort to ramp up vaccinations exposed key improvements needed to administer even more vaccines when increased supply becomes available. On Monday, Newsom announced actions to address these challenges by simplifying the framework, standardizing vaccine information and data and ensuring the available supply of vaccine is administered as quickly as possible.

“Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am focused on taking the steps needed to get Californians safely vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Newsom said. “Our public health and health care systems have done heroic work administering more than 2.4 million vaccinations thus far. To reach the pace needed to vaccinate all Californians in a timely manner, we are simplifying and standardizing the process statewide.”

Moving forward, there will be a single statewide standard and movement through the tiers. The state will continue through 65+, health care workers, and prioritize emergency services, food and agriculture workers, teachers and school staff. From there, the state will transition to age-based eligibility, allowing California to scale up and down quickly, while ensuring vaccine goes to disproportionately impacted communities.

The state is launching My Turn, a new system for Californians to learn when they are eligible to be vaccinated and a place to make an appointment when eligible as well as a mechanism to easily track vaccination data. Through My Turn, individuals will be able to sign up for a notification when they are eligible to make an appointment and schedule one when it is their turn.

Also, to increase available supply based on existing in-state vaccines, the Department of Public Health announced a process that will allow for the reallocation of vaccines from providers who have not used at least 65 percent of their available supply.

At the beginning of the week, California had on hand more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, roughly enough for 2 million people at two doses each.