Californians under 65 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality as a direct result of one or more severe health conditions or high-risk disabilities will be eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines starting March 15, 2021, under new guidance announced by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
According to a CDPH provider bulletin, health care providers will be able to use their clinical judgement to vaccinate individuals age 16-64 who meet the established criteria:
Cancer, current with debilitated or immunocompromised state
Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
Sickle cell disease
Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (excludes hypertension)
Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%
If as a result of a developmental or other severe high-risk disability one or more of the following applies:
The individual is likely to develop severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection
Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual's ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival
Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual's disability
“The explicit inclusion of people with high risk disabilities is a welcome change in the administration’s position, but the piecemeal recognition of people with high risk health conditions, the failure to acknowledge the elevated exposure and health risks of Medi-Cal beneficiaries who need home and community-based services in their homes, and the unexplained delay until March 15 are disappointing for all, and will be deadly for some, people with disabilities,” said Silvia Yee, senior staff attorney for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.
Currently vaccines are being administered to populations identified in Phase 1A (health care workers and long-term care residents) and Phase 1B, Tier 1 (individuals age 65 and older, and individuals working in the education/childcare, emergency services and food/agriculture sectors).