50% of Californians 16 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

California on Friday reached an encouraging milestone in the pandemic, with officials announcing that half of residents 16 and older have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the California Department of Public Health, a total of over 24 million doses have been administered to eligible people statewide.

This comes one day after the nation's most populous state began vaccinating anyone age 16 and over regardless of occupation or health condition.

The move comes as California and other states have seen vaccine supplies rise in recent weeks. But officials are working to address hesitancy, particularly in some of the communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging more residents to sign up for appointments and not let apprehension get in the way of getting protected against the virus.

On that front, Los Angeles County is partnering with many groups to increase available appointments and to reach communities where vaccine hesitancy is prevalent.

In an effort to lead by example, California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago on Friday received his first dose of the vaccine. He joined with Adventist Health White Memorial and teenagers from the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA to encourage everyone eligible to come forward and receive theirs.

Nearby at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the group Shared Harvest hosted a pop-up distribution event to provide access to residents and merchants in that area. The group is working with VaxEquity to improve access in places where people can't get to mass vaccination sites.

"Make no mistake about it, you will see it every week, every weekend -- a massive campaign to make sure that our folks, our neighborhoods and our young people, much younger than me, get vaccinated," Santiago said.

L.A. County health officials say compared to last week, they're seeing progress in getting more vaccines to people who live in hard-hit, low-income areas.

The hope is that hearing about vaccinations from their peers, the newly eligible young people will be more inclined to receive the vaccine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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