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Individuals with Underlying Health Conditions Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine

More people can now make an appointment to receive a vaccine. | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis’ Office

Vaccine eligibility expanded to individuals ages 16-64 with disabilities or underlying health conditions Monday. Underlying health conditions that will next be prioritized include:

  • Cancer, current with debilitated or immunocompromised state.
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage four or above.
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent.
  • Down syndrome.
  • Solid organ transplant recipients with an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system).
  • Pregnancy.
  • Sickle cell disease.
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (excludes hypertension).
  • Severe obesity (body mass index greater than or equal to 40 kg/m2).
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%.
  • People with developmental or other severe high-risk disabilities if they are more likely to develop severe, life threatening illness or death from COVID-19; if they acquire COVID they won’t be able to receive care; or if they cannot receive adequate and timely COVID care because of their disability.

Individuals who reside or work in a high risk congregate residential setting (such as an incarceration/detention facility, homeless shelter, behavioral health facility), people experiencing homelessness, public transit workers, and airport and commercial airline workers are also now eligible.

Public health officials urge that newly eligible people first reach out to their doctor or health provider before seeking a vaccine appointment at a public site.

 “Because many providers do not currently have vaccines, eligible persons with severe medical conditions should also consider other medical providers and pharmacies,” Dr. Paul Simon, the county’s chief science officer, said last week.

People will not be required — but are urged — to provide documentation of medical conditions and some fear that will further limit vaccine availability if ineligible people begin taking appointments meant for eligible groups. Individuals without documentation, such as a letter from a doctor, will be asked to self-attest to having a health condition but will not be asked for details in order to protect patients’ privacy.

“We urge people not to take advantage of that. Again, vaccine supply is very short. I think we all have a moral obligation to make sure that vaccine is reserved for those who are at greatest risk,” Simon said.

To find out if you are eligible or to make an appointment for a vaccine, visit: MyTurn.ca.gov or VaccinateLACounty.com.

March 15, 2021

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