California vaccine eligibility expands, who's next?

The production of COVID-19 vaccines are ramping up, as California opens doors to more residents eligible for innoculation.

It began with frontline health care workers, long term care residents, and those 75 years and old. It's since expanded, adding new groups to the list this week.

"I think the expanded capacity is good," said UC Davis emergency physician Nick Sawyer. "I think they're doing it the right way."

Starting March 15th, vaccines will be offered to residents 16 and up, but only with chronic health conditions; some types of cancer, diabetes, heart, lung, and kidney conditions, along with pregnant women and those with Down syndrome. 

"We will likely have vaccines for everyone to actually get one if they want one by April, but the challenge is actually logistically getting those vaccines into arms," said Dr. Sawyer.

So who would be next in line? According to the state's vaccination plan, education/childcare works and food/agriculture workers would likely earn the next priority spot.

"I think they will announce teachers will be pushed up in the priority for vaccinations," said Dr. Sawyer.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said vaccinating teachers is not required to reopen schools safely. However, director Rochelle Walensky said it is another form of protection.

"We strongly encourage states to prioritize teachers and other school staff to be vaccinated," she said in a call to reporters Friday.

Dr. Sawyer says vaccines will not be the silver bullet to ending the pandemic. He wants to remind the public to remember to practice the basics.

"We're talking a lot about vaccines, but the most imporrtant thing is that people adhere to the public health measures," he said. "Masks, social distancing, don't congregate indoors and listen to science."