California Extends Vaccine Access to People With Disabilities

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Starting March. 15th younger Californian to have disabilities or severe underlying health conditions will be next in line for vaccinations against covert 19. State health officials say the plan will open access to vaccines to another 4 to 6 million people. Joining me now to talk about this is KQED science reporter Molly Peterson. And Molly. What health conditions is the state listing that will make people eligible for vaccinations. And do they have any idea how long it will take to get through this next group? Let's start with the health conditions. The state's new directive to providers lists cancer, chronic kidney disease, It's stage four or higher. Chronic lung disease Down syndrome, having a weakened immune condition from an organ transplant, sickle cell, some heart conditions, severe obesity and very high type two diabetes as The health conditions that will make people eligible for vaccinations and as for how long it will take to get this next group vaccinated literally. The state does not know in part because the states as it could only see supplies three weeks into the future with federal partners. So far, state and federal data show. There have been 5.5 Million doses given 7.9 million doses have been have arrived in the state. But we've had some hiccups with that Napa in Los Angeles this week paused first doses to make sure that they had enough second doses for everyone who had gotten the first dose earlier. Counties and their health officials also speak often about being on wait list to get more vaccine Now, Disability rights advocates have been pushing really hard for people with underlying conditions. To be moved. Moved up in line. How are they responding to this announcement? Well, some people say they are happy. Just go lame and talk to one of our KQED colleagues. She's with San Francisco Senior and Disability Action group. And she says Essentially the march 15th is too late and that countless people will die needlessly and will make it hard for people with disabilities who aren't on this list, and people who don't have regular medical care to access the vaccine. I should say they don't know exactly how many people there. Adding 4 to 6 Million people is the range and that's because some folks with disabilities or severe health conditions are already in groups, including job specified groups and age specified groups. That are already eligible. There are a lot of questions left to answer, like Will people be able to do this at mass vaccination sites or will verify and things that like a mass vaccination site? Slow Everything

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