California opens vaccination eligibility to all adults

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A pedestrian wears a face mask while walking past a sign at a vaccination center at City College of San Francisco during the coronavirus pandemic in San Francisco, Thursday, March 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SANTA ANA, Calif. – After weeks of sometimes confusing and frustrating restrictions, California is throwing open its coronavirus vaccine program to all adults as the nation's most populous state counts on a long-awaited boost in doses.

The move is seen as a crucial step as the state cautiously reopens an economy stifled for a year by COVID-19 restrictions on businesses.

“There’s not just light at the end of the tunnel; there’s bright light at the end of the tunnel,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a news conference Thursday in Orange County.

Newsom said the state would start vaccinating anyone 50 and over in a week and anyone 16 and older on April 15.

“In just a few weeks, there’ll be no rules, no limitations, as it relates to the ability to get a vaccine administered,” Newsom said. “This state is going to come roaring back.”

Newsom, who is 53, said he looked forward to receiving the vaccine himself.

Governors across the country have expanded eligibility for the vaccine as supplies have increased. Earlier this month, Alaska opened eligibility to any resident over 16. Florida said Thursday it will open eligibility to anyone 18 and over on April 5, while Texas will start inoculating all adults next week.

President Joe Biden’s administration wants all states to make every adult eligible for the vaccine by May 1.