A day after publicly receiving his COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited a San Diego vaccine site on Friday and urged Californians to get inoculated, especially now that the state has expanded its eligibility.
“If you are 50 or over, please take the time, prepare to get a vaccine," Newsom said from a new pop-up vaccine site in City Heights. "We’re not going to get to herd immunity, we’re not going to get back to that semblance of normalcy unless we get more people vaccinated.”
Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine expanded Thursday by allowing individuals ages 50 and over to schedule an appointment. Even more Californians will be able to get the vaccine beginning April 15, when anyone ages 16 and over will be eligible.
Joined by county and state leaders, Newsom praised San Diego County for its excellence in administering vaccinations, calling the region a leader among the state.
“This county, this city is leading the way in the state of California in terms of doses administered, in terms of meeting…not just the broad strokes of equity, but actually manifesting them by doing the hard work of getting into communities like this," he said.
As of Friday morning, 35.6% of residents in San Diego County have received their COVID-19 vaccine, with 21.4% of the population being fully vaccinated.
Three hundred residents have signed up to receive their COIVD-19 vaccine at the City Heights location, according to San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. This pop-up vaccination site is part of several other one-day locations that serve communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
San Diego City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera said during Friday's press conference that his team, along with the help of community-based organizations, worked diligently to inform locals of the vaccine opportunity and get them signed up.
Residents in the county have previously raised complaints in trying to secure an appointment for the vaccine. The issue has been acknowledged by city, county and state leaders, who have said that a lull in supplies have been the cause.
“The only constraint on the work here in the county is manufactured supply," Newsom said. He added that the state has designed its vaccine administration to be capable of giving out millions of doses each week.
Adding to that statement, San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher earlier said on Friday that the county can expect to receive more supplies soon.
“We know the supplies are coming," Fletcher said. "This week, we got 25% more than last week, we know next week we hope it’s going to be more. We ask the community to hang in there.”
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez said that the wait for the vaccine will be worth it since it will allow San Diego to get back to normalcy.
“This just shows that we’re going to get to every single person who will be willing to take a vaccine," she said. "We’re going to reopen, our kids will get back on track and we’re going to have a better and brighter City Heights, San Diego and California because of the work of all these folks.
Newsom explained that the state will be getting millions of more doses in the next week.
“We are now receiving more support from the federal government," he said. "J&J (vaccine) – 572,700 doses coming in next week. More manufactured supplies of Pfizer and Moderna -- 2.4 million doses of vaccines coming in next week."
Despite the lull in supplies, the governor urged Californians to remain vigilant and to be patient because of optimistic trends in cases and vaccines.
“We see a bright light," he said. "Not just a light, we see a bright light at the end of this tunnel."
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria agreed with that statement, and earlier said:
“If you continue to wear your face covering, if you continue to maintain social distance, follow the public health order and get vaccinated when it’s your turn, then we will get this behind us and we will get back to a life that we can all remember and all hope to have once again. It’s on all of us to do the work.”
Before the press conference ended, Gov. Newsom reminded Californians to take caution into the holiday weekend.
“Be mindful and sober that this disease is not taking Easter weekend off," he said. "This disease is not taking spring break off. It’s still as deadly as it’s ever been.”