California throws open COVID vaccines to anyone 65 and older

(CALMATTERS) – California is opening COVID-19 vaccines to all residents 65 and older — an announcement that comes amid a slower-than-expected vaccination rollout and growing frustration among seniors most vulnerable to the virus.

State health officials had previously declared that California would focus on vaccinating health workers and nursing home residents, with seniors 75 and older and certain essential workers to follow. But people over age 65 make up the majority of hospitalizations and nearly three-quarters of the COVID-19 deaths.

“With our hospitals crowded and ICUs full, we need to focus on vaccinating Californians who are at highest risk of becoming hospitalized to alleviate stress on our health care facilities,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement.

The federal government this week directed states to open vaccinations to people 65 and over and to people under 65 with a preexisting

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