Coronavirus vaccination age eligibility will drop to 16 years old in Riverside County Tuesday, more than a week ahead of when the California Department of Public Health said the change would take place.
"More vaccine is available now, and opening eligibility will move us even further towards our goal of vaccinating the majority of our residents," Board of Supervisors Chair Karen Spiegel said.
The vaccination age threshold was reset to 50 years and up last week, and the CDPH had indicated that April 15 would be the date for offering immunizations to those as young as 16.
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"We are seeing many available appointments at public health clinics have not been filled,'' county Executive Office spokeswoman Booke Federico told City News Service when asked why the county was able to lower inoculation qualification ahead of the state schedule.
Only the Pfizer vaccine is currently available to those as young as 16, and any recipients will have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian as part of the consent process, according to the Riverside University Health System. The minimum age for Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccine doses is 18, per current health guidelines.
County Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said the purpose of vaccinating the segment of the population with the least exposure risk is to "bring us one step closer to herd immunity."
Only four county-operated clinics are currently offering vaccination appointments to residents as young as 16.
More information is available here or by calling the county's 211 help line.