In light of the upcoming spring break across the United States, health officials are turning to quicker vaccine rollouts, expanding eligibility.
Recently, the governor of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom, announced that any resident of 50 years or older will be eligible for the vaccine on April 1. California also stated by April 15, residents of 16 years or older would be eligible, thanks to the increased supply of vaccines from the federal government. Similarly, Governor Ron DeSantis from Florida approved that any state resident of 40 years or older would be eligible from March 29. Residents of at least 18 years of age would be eligible on April 5. In Connecticut, a state with one of the highest vaccination numbers, announced that residents of at least 16 years would be eligible from April 1. The governor of New Hampshire stated that vaccines could be administered to those at least 16 by April 2nd and Rhode Island plans to expand availability by April 19.
Following President Biden’s goal of expanding vaccine eligibility by May 1st, many states are ahead of the plan, as the country is averaging 2.5 million doses per day. According to the “New York Times”, if the rate were to continue or even increase, nearly half of the United States population would be partially vaccinated by the middle of May.
According to state officials from California, they stated that they expected California, by itself, would distribute 2.5 million doses per week in the first of April. They were expecting the rollout to increase to at least 3 million doses per week by the following weeks, most likely in the second half of the month. Currently as of late March, California is receiving approximately 1.8 million doses of the vaccines per week.
Other government officials expressed their opinions about Gov. Newsom’s fast-paced plan, conspiring that Newsom’s plan is in accordance to his re-election as the governor. Experts are saying Newsom is trying to win back over public approval by returning the state to the some state of normalcy by the time election comes around. However, the governor has continued to deny such claims, repeating that the underwhelming vaccine distribution in the beginning was due to “shorty and unpredictable supplies” leaving “a confusing and chaotic vaccination process that has left many poorer communities to lag behind”.
Governor Gavin Newsom’s response was that 40% of the vaccines the state was receiving would automatically be distributed to more vulnerable communities. However, the Santa Clara County executive of the Bay Area, one of California’s most populous regions, showed frustration as called the plan as “a fake equity plan”. Nearly none of the Bay Area’s counties are under the list of communities eligible for the 40% plan.
As California, and other states, continue the race to vaccinate all, many residents have expressed difficulty in securing an appointment for the vaccine, worried that those who are at highest risk would lose priority to those of younger healthier bodies. Though health officials are denying such possibilities, between the health of the people and our country’s wellbeing, economically and politically, we can only hope the vaccines will return our normal lives.