LA County Expands Vaccine Eligibility to People Aged 16-64 with Underlying Health Conditions or Disabilities

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Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

A new group of Los Angeles County residents now have vaccine eligibility. Starting today, Monday, March 15, 2021, people aged 16-64 who have underlying health conditions or disabilities are now eligible to register for COVID-19 vaccination appointments, as their conditions put them at the highest risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19.

These underlying health conditions or disabilities for vaccine eligibility include:

  • Cancer, current with weakened immune system;
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above;
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent;
  • Down syndrome;
  • Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Sickle cell disease;
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension);
  • Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2); and
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%.
  • Or, as a result of a developmental or other significant, high-risk disability, one or more of the following criteria applies:
  • A COVID-19 infection is likely to result in severe life-threatening illness or death; or
  • Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival; or
  • Providing adequate and timely COVID-19 care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability.

These eligible persons join frontline healthcare workers; staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities; staff and residents at long-term care facilities; all people age 65 and over; people who work in education and childcare; emergency services and first responders; food and agriculture workers, people who live or work in congregate living spaces; janitorial, custodial, and maintenance services workers; and transportation and logistics workers — all of whom are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Residents with internet access and a computer are urged to use www.VaccinateLACounty.com to sign up for a vaccination appointment. For people without access to a computer or the Internet, or people with disabilities, an LA County call center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. to help schedule appointments at (833) 540-0473.

People who are newly eligible and qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition should note that during registration for a vaccine appointment, they will be asked to state that they have a high-risk medical condition or disability. To protect confidentially, they will not be asked to disclose the specific condition. People getting vaccinated must provide documentation at all appointments with either a letter from a healthcare provider, a personal physician or an agency providing services or, if not available, the eligible person or their caretaker will be asked to sign an attestation.

To ensure that people at higher risk of transmission and illness are vaccinated first, Los Angeles County has established a phased system. For details visit: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/ncorona2019/covidvaccinedistribution. For answers to frequently asked questions from LA County Public Health, visit: www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/about/FAQ-Vaccine.pdf.

The State of California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has, additionally, established an online tool called MyTurn to assist all Californians in finding out when they are eligible for vaccination. Visit https://myturn.ca.gov and answer a few brief questions to determine eligibility.

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