East County News Service
February 13, 2021 (San Diego) – Starting Monday, March 15, new California guidelines allow COVID-19 vaccines to be given to people age 16 and up with the following serious underlying health conditions or disabilities that would put them at high risk of hospitalization or death from the novel coronavirus:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic pulmonary disease
- Down syndrome
- Weakened immune system from solid organ transplant
- Sickle cell disease
- Heart conditions
- Severe obesity
- And Type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Developmental disabilities, if COVID would limit their ability to receive ongoing care or services, or impair their treatment of COVID
All Californians over age 65 are already eligible to receive the vaccine, as are front-line healthcare workers and others in Tier 1 and Tier 2a.
Educators, first responders, food and agricultural workers are expected to have vaccines available within 2-3 weeks, followed next by those age 50 and over, regardless of whether they have any underlying health conditions.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines currently available require two doses to be fully effective, with immunities built up about 10 days after each dose. The first dose provides approximately 50% protection, while the second dose raises that to about 94% or 95% effectiveness.
Neither of these vaccines is yet approved for minors under age 16, however safety tests are underway on those ages 12 and up. After that, tests are planned for those ages 6 and up in hopes that vaccination of children will be possible within months.
The Biden administration has announced purchased orders of enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans with both doses by July – or nearly the entire U.S. population of 323 million people.