LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — All those aged 50 and older are eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine in California beginning Thursday.
In Los Angeles County alone, the new eligibility requirements will mean about 1.4 million more people will qualify. Nearly four million more people in L.A. County ages 16 and up will eligible to receive the vaccine starting April 15.
“It’s impossible for us not to be alerting people to the fact that they’re going to perhaps need to wait for a couple of weeks even before they’re going to be able to get those appointments,” said L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer Wednesday.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday at least 70 percent of LA County’s population has or is beginning to have antibodies that will protect against COVID-19.
Along with those 50 and older, healthcare workers, teachers, transportation workers, food and agriculture workers and law enforcement officers, those with disabilities and those with preexisting conditions are among those also eligible to receive the vaccine in L.A. County.
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The eligibility expansion comes as a large batch of roughly 15 million Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines were ruined due to human error, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
The error happened when employees mixed up vaccine ingredients at an Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore, a subcontractor helping Johnson & Johnson with the manufacturing process, according to a federal investigation.
Johnson & Johnson said in a statement the goal is to deliver 24 million doses of the vaccine in April. The company added there will be tighter controls in place at its manufacturing partner going forward.
One L.A. doctor said while vaccinations are making progress, there is also concern over variants of the coronavirus, which could lead to a growth in the number of cases.
“This is the biggest worry we have is bunches of people who are not vaccinated not adequately immunized and a new strain comes or the existing strain starts to go around because there was a super-spreader event,” said Dr. Suman Radhakrishna, of Dignity Health California Hospital. “Everyone’s tired of being by themselves, they wanna go out, they wanna do things.”
On Thursday morning, California Gov. Gavin Newsom received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Baldwin Hills.