On Feb. 12, the California Department of Public Health again updated its COVID-19 vaccine allocation guidelines. This latest guidance announces that, beginning March 15, health care providers may use their clinical judgement to vaccinate individuals age 16-64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 as a direct result of one or more of the “severe health conditions” specified in the department’s provider bulletin.
These specified severe health conditions include cancer (current with debilitated or immunocompromised state); chronic kidney disease (stage 4 or above); chronic pulmonary disease (oxygen dependent); Down syndrome; immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant; pregnancy; sickle cell disease; heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (excludes hypertension); severe obesity (BMI ≥40 kg/m2); Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%; or if, as a result of a developmental or other severe high-risk disability, one or more of the conditions specified in the bulletin applies.
The guidance also clarifies that family member caregivers with direct risk of COVID-19 exposure who care for regional center consumers at high risk of COVID-19 complications and related fatalities are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as health care providers. The regional center consumers at such high risk include those with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, epilepsy, and those with specialized health care needs, including dependence on ventilators, oxygen, and other technology. Eligible family members must obtain documentation from their regional centers verifying the qualifying condition of the family member cared for and caregiver status.