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Health

The severe health conditions that qualify Californians under 65 for COVID vaccines – SFGate

On February 12, the California Department of Public Health announced health care providers may soon vaccinate people age 16-64 who suffer from a number of health conditions. This decree, which goes into effect on March 15, which will add several million people to the number of people eligible for vaccines in California.

— Cancer, current with debilitated or immunocompromised state
— Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
— Chronic pulmonary disease,  oxygen dependent
— Down syndrome
— Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
— Pregnancy
— Sickle cell disease
— Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (excludes hypertension)
— Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
— Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%

Beyond these conditions, the CDPH says other people may qualify for vaccines if, as a result of a developmental or other severe high-risk disability, one or more of the following applies:

— The individual is likely to develop severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection
— Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival
— Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability

While the list includes many severe conditions, there are several life-threatening conditions not on the list even though, as the Mercury News points out, they’re linked to worse outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Among those not included are: cystic fibrosis, dementia, hypertension, Type 1 diabetes and some rare genetic diseases.


The announcement by the state expands the groups who have already been approved to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Already approved are those in Phase 1A —  health care workers and long term care residents — and Phase 1B — individuals 65 and older, workers in education and child care, emergency services, agriculture and food.

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