Millions of Californians with disabilities and underlying health conditions will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, but continuing shortages of doses as well as ongoing uncertainties about verification and qualification still pose potential barriers to access.
The expansion marks an important step for the state’s emergence from the pandemic, and new guidance released Thursday by health officials allows high-risk people to self-attest to their eligibility — a key win for advocates who worried that people would not be able to gather documentation to verify their disability or underlying condition.
But the addition of an estimated 4.4 million Californians to the eligibility list will place additional burdens on a vaccine supply that has grown steadily but not significantly. California is reserving 40% of its supply for people in underserved communities and 10% for teachers. And there are still many people 65 and older who are waiting for their vaccinations as well.
Further straining tight supplies: The state on Monday is also expanding eligibility to people who live or work in high-risk congregate residential settings, such as homeless shelters and incarceration facilities, and to public transit and airport employees.
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