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California to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults starting April 15

California will expand COVID-19 vaccine availability to all adults by April 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference Thursday. People 50 years and older will be eligible by April 1, and people 16 years and older will be eligible by April 15. (Noah Danesh/Daily Bruin)

This post was updated March 25 at 5:10 p.m.

All adults in California will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.

People 50 years and older will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 1, and people 16 years and older will be eligible beginning April 15, Newsom said at a press conference in Orange County Thursday.

“In just a few weeks, there will be no rules, no limitations as it relates to the ability to get a vaccine administered,” Newsom said at the press conference.

[Related link: Students receive COVID-19 vaccines, encourage all to follow when eligible]

A full rollout is still expected to take several months, according to a press release from the Office of the Governor. California is expecting to receive more than 3 million vaccines per week in the second half of April, and hopes to administer 4 million vaccines per week by the end of April.

As of Wednesday, California has administered almost 16 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Hilda Solis, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors chair, said in a statement that LA County plans to follow California’s guidelines for increased vaccine availability.

“As supplies increase and vaccination opportunities become more widely available in the weeks to come, we can make real progress in beating back this virus and ushering in a new normal,” Solis said.

LA County itself has administered more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccines, according to the LA County Department of Public Health. The county also loosened restrictions on some in-person businesses in mid-March because of improving COVID-19 case rates and vaccine distribution and could continue to loosen additional restrictions as early as April.

The change in vaccine availability may help UCLA’s plans to return to in-person instruction. In January, the University of California system announced plans to return to mostly in-person instruction in the fall because of the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

Neema Afrasiabi, a fourth-year psychology student, said he thinks it’s a good thing that all students will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think it’s great, I think it definitely needs to happen and I think that it’s a start to basically getting campus to slowly but surely reopen,” said Afrasiabi, who already received the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Anaïs Pautrat, an international trade and commerce student at UCLA Extension, said she thinks California is doing a better job at its vaccine rollout compared to her home country of France, which plans to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone 70 years and older starting Saturday.

Melanie Marentes, a third-year political science student who transferred from Santa Monica College this year, said she didn’t expect the vaccine rollout to be as fast as it is. However, she said she is disappointed that some vaccination sites require patients to be in a car to receive a vaccine, which she said is inequitable.

Still, she said the vaccine distribution plan is giving her hope for her final year at UCLA.

“We’ve waited a year, and I think once everything starts lifting and getting better, I think people have now like a renewed sense of hope,” Marentes said.

Contributing reports by Noah Danesh, Daily Bruin contributor.

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Bernard Mendez
Assistant News editor

Gupta is the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a third-year psychology student.

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