Even as California prepares to expand vaccine eligibility on April 15 to all residents 16 and older, the state has managed to inoculate only about half its senior population — the 65-and-older target group deemed most vulnerable to death and serious illness in the pandemic.
Overall, nearly 56% of California seniors have received the full course of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s about average compared with other states — not nearly as high as places like South Dakota, where almost 74% of seniors are fully vaccinated, but also not as far behind as Hawaii, which has reached 44%. The data, current as of Tuesday, does not include seniors who have received only the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
But California’s overall progress masks huge variations in senior vaccination rates among the state’s 58 counties, which largely are running their own vaccine rollouts with different eligibility rules and outreach protocols. The discrepancies notably break down by geographic region, with the state’s remote rural counties — generally conservative strongholds — in some cases struggling to give away available doses, while the more populous — and generally left-leaning — metropolitan areas often have far more demand than supply.
—Jenny Gold, Kaiser Health News