COVID-19 vaccines became available in the U.S. in December 2020, and since then, more than 40% of Californians have received at least one dose and nearly 25% are now fully vaccinated. With 2 new groups becoming eligible for vaccination in April, the Golden State moves closer to reaching herd immunity.
Until this point, only individuals in phases 1A, 1B and 1C of the state's vaccination plan were eligible to be vaccinated. This included people over age 65; health care workers; long-term care residents; people in certain sectors, such as education and emergency services; and people with health conditions, disabilities, illnesses, living spaces or work environments that put them at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
According to the state, every Californian age 16 and older is now eligible for vaccination. Those age 16 and 17 will receive the Pfizer vaccine only. Vaccination of people younger than 16 will start as soon as the COVID-19 vaccines are approved for them.
"We look forward to enjoying the benefits of herd immunity in managing the spread of COVID-19 and returning to some sense of normalcy in our daily lives," says Suzanne Shea, RPh, vice president of Sharp HealthCare's system pharmacy services. "The vaccination of those included in the next phases of the vaccine plan will certainly help us reach that goal and will ensure that more people in our community are protected from severe illness, hospitalization and death due to COVID-19."
How to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine in San Diego
People who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in San Diego County can visit My Turn, a statewide vaccination information website, to make an appointment. They can select one of the Sharp-staffed sites at Grossmont Center, Chula Vista Center, the Coronado Community Center or Cal State San Marcos, or any other site with available appointments. Teens age 16 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, who will be required to sign a consent form on-site, and provide proof of age documentation, such as a birth certificate, passport or provisional driver’s permit, also known as a learner’s permit, to be vaccinated at all Sharp-staffed sites.
Appointments at all county locations are required and are updated online as vaccine doses are received, so people are encouraged to check back often to schedule. An additional way to schedule vaccination is by visiting the websites of area pharmacies. Employees of schools in San Diego County should register for vaccination on vebavaccinates.com.
It is important to note that vaccine supplies are limited in several California counties, and vaccinating the additional Californians included in the next two phases may take some time. However, the state reports that it expects to be allocated approximately 2.5 million doses per week in the first half of April, and more than 3 million doses in the second half of April, which may greatly increase vaccine availability.
"Until you receive your COVID-19 vaccine - and even after, as post-vaccination infection may be possible - it is important to maintain all COVID-19 precautions," Shea says. "Please continue to wear a mask, avoid crowds, maintain 6 feet from others not from your household, and wash your hands often."
Get COVID-19 vaccine information and access to COVID-19 resources from Sharp HealthCare.
This story has been updated in April 2021, to reflect the most recent updates to the eligibility guidelines.