May 8, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

L.A. can check COVID-19 vaccine eligibility via state site

Residents of Los Angeles and San Diego counties can now check their eligibility to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and schedule appointments through a state-run portal — the latest resource California has launched as it seeks to give its inoculation pace a shot in the arm.

The website, myturn.ca.gov, is being piloted in California’s two most-populous counties, but Gov. Gavin Newsom said the goal is to expand the system statewide in early February.

“It’s not just a notification system as some other states have, or a system just for reservations with state clinics,” he said during a briefing Monday. “This is an end-to-end system across the spectrum.”

To determine eligibility, the portal asks residents where they live, their age and whether they are a healthcare worker.

If they meet the criteria for a vaccine, residents can search for nearby sites and schedule appointments, if they’re available. Californians who are not yet at the front of the line can also sign up to be notified when it is their turn.

Vaccinations are currently being given only to long-term care facility staff and residents, healthcare workers and those who are at least 65 years old.

Another benefit, Newsom added, is that providers will have a quicker way to share vaccination data with the state — hopefully reducing the reporting lags that have dogged California throughout the pandemic.

Giving Californians a way to schedule appointments is one thing, but having the capability to carry them out is another.

Even as health officials have moved aggressively to set up megasites that can dole out thousands of doses per day, as well as secure and train the workers needed to administer them, efforts have been stymied by a nationwide scarcity of shots.

Prioritization has also been a fluid process, prompting confusion over who can receive a vaccine, and when. Newsom announced earlier this month that people 65 and older could get COVID-19 vaccinations — ballooning the number of eligible Californians even as supplies remained strained.

State officials said Monday they will shift who is prioritized in the next round of COVID-19 inoculations to focus on age rather than specific occupations considered higher risk, though they’ve yet to specify what the new criteria will be.

So far, California has administered more than 2.4 million vaccine doses, and more than 4.5 million have been shipped to health providers. But in a state of roughly 40 million people, and with the available vaccines both requiring two doses, that’s far from what would be needed to protect the state against COVID-19.

California has begun to ramp up its vaccination pace, however. Over the last week, about 149,000 doses have been administered on average each day, according to data compiled by The Times.

Given California’s size, Newsom said the state is “more like a large ship — it takes a little bit of time to shift course, but when it shifts course, it builds tremendous momentum.”

Still, supplies are thin. Unless the dose distribution increases, some officials have said Californians may not be be clear of the COVID-19 pandemic until next year.

Appointments remain hard to come by. They were unavailable through the city of L.A.’s web platform Tuesday morning, and a quick search for Los Angeles County also came up empty.

“We are still months away from a point where most of our residents will be immunized against this very aggressive virus,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday. “As we look forward to having more vaccines available we must continue to remain safe and keep taking those daily steps that we know protect ourselves and protect others.”

Times staff writers Colleen Shalby and Melody Gutierrez contributed to this report.