California is set to make all residents 16 and older eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.
But many vaccination sites are not waiting until then. This weekend, Los Angeles joined the growing list of areas allowing people 16 and over to sign up for vaccinations.
The changes come as more vaccine supply is coming to California.
To date, providers throughout California have administered almost 22.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, and 38.3% of residents have received at least one shot, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Roughly 21.1% of Californians are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve either received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both required doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
Nationwide, 35.9% of Americans have received at least one dose, and 21.9% are fully vaccinated, CDC data show.
But supply issues are emerging with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that could slow progress. Here is what we know:
Anyone 16 or older can now book COVID-19 vaccine appointments in L.A., ahead of California’s planned statewide expansion.
What is the change in L.A.?
Los Angeles has opened COVID-19 vaccine appointments to those 16 and older.
On the city’s website for COVID-19 vaccine registration, operated by Carbon Health, there is now an option to book an appointment for people 16 and older at city-run vaccination sites.
People who are seeking shots at city-run vaccination sites must provide valid identification and be a resident of Los Angeles County. City-run sites are open from Tuesday through Saturday.
The updated website offers appointments for everyone 16 and older as early as Tuesday — two days earlier than when California formally opens vaccinations to all residents in this age range. Currently, the statewide criteria say that only people 50 and older, those with underlying health conditions and workers in certain specified essential job sectors are eligible for the vaccine.
But many local jurisdictions have moved faster than the state in allowing everyone 16 and up to get the vaccine.
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What about other areas?
The city of Long Beach, the UC Davis Health system in the Sacramento area, and the counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, Kern, Fresno, Contra Costa, Butte, Shasta and Nevada have opened up vaccines to those 16 and older; Yuba and Sutter counties have made shots available to all adults.
Orange County and San Francisco are allowing people 16 and older living in hard-hit ZIP Codes to get vaccinated.
Anyone working or living in Alameda County who is 16 and older can also book appointments through the state’s MyTurn registration system, even at the mass vaccination site at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, according to San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney.
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How do you get an appointment?
State or local hot lines could be of assistance. The state’s COVID-19 hotline — at (833) 422-4255 — is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
In Los Angeles County, those with disabilities or without computer access are encouraged to call (833) 540-0473 between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
What are concerns about Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
Recently released federal data are raising new questions as to whether supply will match expectations as the state makes shots available to all adults.
Although California’s allocations of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are expected to remain relatively steady this week, the state — along with the rest of the nation — will see availability crater for the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Last week, 574,900 Johnson & Johnson doses were allocated to the Golden State. This week, that number will plummet to 67,600, an 88% drop, CDC data show.
The allocation is expected to fall even further the week of April 18, to 22,400 doses, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The free-falling number of available Johnson & Johnson doses stems from a production issue at a plant in Baltimore — where the drugmaker said a number of doses (news reports pegged the number at 15 million) failed quality standards and couldn’t be used. Johnson & Johnson is now “working closely with the [Food and Drug Administration] to resolve any manufacturing issues,” as well as “installing a new senior leadership team to oversee all aspects of production and manufacturing at the facility,” according to Jeff Zients, coordinator of President Biden’s COVID-19 task force.
This nosedive for Johnson & Johnson will drive down the size of the state’s federal allocation from the 2.4 million doses received last week, to 2 million this week and 1.9 million next week.
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This would appear to fall far short of the rosier estimates shared last month, when the state announced plans to widely expand vaccine access — first to residents who are at least 50 years old, which happened April 1; and then to all California residents 16 and older starting Thursday.
Based on estimates at the time, officials said they expected California to be allocated approximately 2.5 million first and second doses per week in the first half of April, and more than 3 million doses in the second half of the month.