On March 15, California will begin vaccinating people 16 to 64 with some pre-existing health conditions. Here's who qualifies and how doctors will come to their decision.
- As someone who is not quite 65 and with a pre-existing medical condition, Cherri Giovannini is now closer to getting a COVID vaccine.
CHERRI GIOVANNINI: I think it's important. I had stage IV cancer. So yeah, I think it's important. And I'm caretaking for my father-in-law, who is 88.
- Beginning March 15, those ages 16 to 64 with the following severe health conditions would be eligible for a vaccine-- current cancer patients, someone with a chronic kidney disease stage 4 or above, chronic pulmonary disease, Down syndrome, immunocompromised state from a solid organ transplant, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, heart conditions, severe obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
The California Health Department is still working on the details of what will be required from a medical provider. So far, California doesn't have a form like Florida is requesting. Florida's form is called COVID-19 determination of extreme vulnerability. Also, California has included in that group people with a severe high-risk disability, a broad term that may or may not include people with HIV.
ALOK PATEL: Individuals who are immunocompromised but not because of a cancer diagnosis or because of a solid organ transplant, and they say, well, what about us as well? And I think a lot of this is going to come down to the discretion and the judgment from health care providers.
- There is also concern for those who don't have a doctor to go to.
ALOK PATEL: What about everyone else out there who has these conditions, but doesn't have adequate medical care?
- Also at the moment, California doesn't have enough vaccines for that group, but that's expected to change quickly.
MIKE WASSERMAN: Especially now with the new J&J vaccine, there's little question that we will have enough vaccine for the new groups coming on within the next month or two.
- Giovannini is now anxiously awaiting her turn.
CHERRI GIOVANNINI: And I haven't seen my grandkids in a year, so I want to get it and get down to see them.