Contra Costa County health officials announced Tuesday that Covid-19 vaccines are now available to all those age 16 and older who live or work in the county.
County officials opened vaccine eligibility to all of the county’s adults prior to the state’s target date of April 15 due in part to an abundance of vaccine doses allocated by the federal government.
The county took similar action last week, opening eligibility to residents age 50 and older regardless of whether they have a high-risk medical condition or work in an essential industry. The county is the first in the Bay Area and one of the first large counties in the state to make vaccines available to all adult residents — Butte County made the same eligibility change as of Monday.
In the coming days and weeks, county officials say they plan to eliminate the current vaccine appointment registration process in favor of making vaccine doses available on a walk-in basis at vaccination sites like the Richmond Auditorium and the Bay Point Health Center.
The county will also continue to work with state officials to ensure areas that have been hardest-hit by the pandemic have greater access to the vaccine.
In a media release announcing the eligibility change, County Health Director Anna Roth said:
“Since we gave the first dose in our county on Dec. 15, getting vaccine to everyone and anyone has been our top priority. Removing barriers of all kinds, including confusing eligibility criteria is an important step in furthering our equity goals. This is an important day.”
According to county health officials, thousands of vaccination appointments are available at the county’s community clinics this week. The county received nearly 85,000 vaccine doses this week.
Expanding vaccine access to all residents 16 and up will add some 375,000 people to the pool of those eligible, according to county officials.
Roughly 630,000 vaccine doses have been administered countywide. County officials have set a goal to administer 1 million doses by May 31.
Amid increased vaccinations and falling Covid-19 rates, the county also expects to move into the orange tier next week, enabling the county to increase indoor capacity for various businesses and reopen bars outdoors.
Roth said filling vaccine appointments as quickly as possible will help spur additional reopenings and keep the county from having to lock down for a third time.
“Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that his goal was to move the state quickly through the eligibility tiers. We agree and applaud this goal. We have appointments to fill. By expanding eligibility now, we can ensure that no appointments go unused.”
People can also visit the county’s online appointment guide to help friends, family and neighbors get access to the vaccine.