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California counties begged for more coronavirus vaccine as the state added a potential 4 to 6 million people to those eligible for the sought-after doses.
State public health officials followed federal guidance Wednesday by announcing that people 65 and older could get the two-dose vaccine.
But Los Angeles County, the nation's most populous with 10 million residents and an epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, said it couldn't immediately provide them because it hasn't yet inoculated health care workers, who have first crack at the vaccine.
Only about a quarter of some 800,000 had been inoculated, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
“We're not done with our health care workers and we actually don't have enough vaccine right now to be able to get done more quickly,” Ferrer said. “We haven't heard back from the state about vaccine availability and how. it would be distributed. ”
California has seen virus cases and hospitalizations explode since the fall, though in recent days the numbers have flattened. Still, newly reported cases over the last seven days in the nation's most populous state have far outpaced others, such as Texas and Florida - the second- and third-most populated U.S. states.
California on Wednesday reported another 589 deaths, bringing the total to more than 31,000 and nearly 34,000 new infections, some of which will inevitably lead to more hospitalizations and deaths. There also is concern about another COVID-19 surge after January as people who unsafely gathered for New Year's Eve start to sicken.
California had received more than 2.4 million vaccine doses as of Monday, but only a third of them have been used. The state aims to administer nearly 1.5 million vaccine doses by Friday - still a small portion of what's needed for herd immunity in a state with nearly 40 million people.
Nearly 50 state lawmakers signed a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday noting that incoming President Joe Biden's administration has announced its reliable intent to release "nearly all available" vaccine to the states and asking for counties to receive supply updates and a "" four -week forecast on expected vaccine quantities.
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