May 27, 2024


Health know-how

At-risk Californian feels left behind in COVID vaccine rollout

Some say the coronavirus vaccine can’t come fast enough.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As California health officials aim to speed up the coronavirus vaccination program, which has been criticized by the Governor and other officials for moving too slowly, some in the state feel like they’re being left behind.

Dennis Haight, 61, of Yuba County is wondering why some healthy people can receive the vaccine before him. He suffers from numerous health conditions that make him high risk for getting very sick from coronavirus.

“I have a brain tumor, I have COPD, I have diabetes, pancreatitis,” Haight said.

As many as 6 million Californians are in the same group as him. This group of very high-risk people is eligible for the coronavirus vaccine starting March 15.

RELATED: California to expand COVID-19 vaccines to people ages 16-64 with high-risk health conditions

Ahead of them in the state’s vaccine rollout, are some 15 million people. Those include healthcare workers, those who live and work in senior living care centers, and those working in food, agriculture, education, childcare, and emergency services.

“There’s gonna be a lot of healthy people that can get the shots tomorrow and people like me that are a high risk, they still gotta wait just because we’re in a certain age group,” Haight said.

“I don’t think that their lives is worth more than mine,” Haight said.

The California Community Vaccine Advisory Committee is one of the groups tasked with deciding how vaccines are distributed in California. Dr. Mike Wasserman is a member of that committee.

“Because we’ve had a limitation to the number of vaccines available, the single greatest determiner has been the risk of dying,” Dr. Wasserman explained.

RELATED: What California’s contract with Blue Shield means for you when it comes to getting the vaccine

The distribution plan also includes vaccinating those who are most likely to come into contact with those who might be at a high risk.

“Then the secondary were first responders and healthcare workers who we need from a societal perspective,” Dr. Wasserman said.

California’s vaccine rollout began in December, with a bumpy start that faced criticism by state officials, including Governor Gavin Newsom, for moving too slowly. The Federal Government continues to struggle with supply.

California has administered more than 6,150,000 doses so far. The state’s working to ramp up the process, aiming to vaccinate 3 million in March, another 4 million by April.

Dennis Haight should be eligible for his shot by March 15 and is desperately waiting.

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