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Tulare County expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to residents age 50 and over effective immediately on Thursday, ahead of new California rules that will take effect April 1.

Tulare’s widened eligibility is available regardless of health conditions, according to a release from the Tulare County Health & Human Service Agency.

“Both Tulare County residents and workers who meet the 50 and older age requirements and those eligible with underlying high-risk health conditions and disabilities that increases their risk of severe COVID-19 can now make an appointment to get vaccinated,” the release said.

Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County’s public health officer said, “We urge all our newly eligible residents and workforce to not delay and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“This vaccine is our best line of defense against the COVID-19 virus, as we look to build immunity in our community, allowing us to safely lift restrictions on businesses and ultimately bring this horrible pandemic to an end,” Haught said.

California Expands Eligibility Statewide April 1

Also on Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said vaccine eligibility will expand to all California residents beginning April 1 and anyone over 16 starting April 15.

The updated eligibility is prompted by expected increases in vaccine availability, Newsom’s office said in a news release.

“With vaccine supply increasing and by expanding eligibility to more Californians, the light at the end of the tunnel continues to get brighter,” Newsom said.

“We remain focused on equity as we extend vaccine eligibility to those older than 50 starting April 1, and those older than 16 starting April 15. This is possible thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration and the countless public health officials across the state who have stepped up to get shots into arms.”

Based on latest estimates, California expects to be allocated approximately 2.5 million first and second doses per week in the first half of April, and more than 3 million doses in the second half of April, the state said.

California currently receives about 1.8 million doses per week. The state has the capacity to administer more than 3 million vaccines per week, officials said, and is building the capacity to administer 4 million vaccines weekly by the end of April.

Vaccination Appointment Needed

Vaccination appointments are required, which can be made through various local, state, and private websites and phone numbers. The state’s centralized MyTurn website is among them, but other appointment systems are available as well.

Appointments for Tulare County residents seeking vaccinations prior to April 1 are available through a local providers, including the county’s mass vaccination site at the International Agri-Center in Tulare. To register, individuals should visit the the county’s COVID Vaccine webpage.

The website also offers a full listing of individual health care providers and local pharmacies offering COVID vaccinations

Officials said the Tulare COVID Call Center is also available to assist those without internet access and non-English–speaking residents in obtaining a vaccination by calling (559) 685-2260.

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