California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly reiterated during a news conference Thursday that undocumented Californians are eligible for a vaccine, encouraging them to go for their shots.
"I've been in Central Valley a dozen times in the last few weeks, providing direct efforts, meeting people where they are, pop-up sites, mobile clinics, going to farms,” Newsom said. “Regardless of immigration status, no questions asked, just get shots into people's arms, stabilize population, stabilize health."
Ghaly said the state is “taking down barriers to access of the vaccine. One of those is showing documentation.”
The statements come after reports of some Southern California pharmacies refusing to administer vaccines to undocumented people.
The big news from the news conference was that California will expand vaccine eligibility for people age 50 and older beginning April 1, with all individuals 16 and older becoming eligible on April 15.
But Newsom also announced that in some areas of the state a “no questions asked” policy is going into effect for people who arrive at a vaccination appointment along with anyone who is officially eligible for a shot.
The policy is specifically designed to accommodate undocumented individuals and only applies to those living in census tracts falling into the state’s County Health Places Index Quartiles 1 and 2.
The state expects this new avenue for vaccinations will mostly be used by, but is not limited to, families.