As California expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, here's where to look for an appointment

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With California officially opening vaccine eligibility for those 50 and older later this week, is it possible to make an appointment now? It depends on where you live and where you search online.

The hunt for appointments is on. At Riverside University Health System, Hugo Alvarez is the Director of Patient Access. He's been helping to match people with vaccines since the first rollout.

"Be a little bit patient with the process," he said. "Let things unfold."

Alvarez said look to health departments to start your search.

"The county website is always going to be your first and foremost point of contact," he said.

If you're 50 or older, and live or work in Long Beach, the city announced you can make an appointment by signing up through VaxLB.

And while you won't find the 50-plus category on L.A. County's website just yet, health officials said expect appointments to be available by mid-week. They also suggest checking different pharmacy sites.

A quick search of Costco's website connects you to L.A. County's site, which reveals no availability for people 50 or older. The same goes for pharmacies like Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS.

However, on Carbon Health's website under coronavirus and then vaccines, you can see a window for this category and availability. Eyewitness News reporter Denise Dador was able to book an appointment for Tuesday. The site also lists which vaccines are given at different sites.

Alvarez said no matter which vaccine becomes available first to you, don't wait.

California to expand vaccination eligibility to everyone 16 and older starting April 15

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California is expanding the list of people who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, opening it up to everyone 16 and older starting April 15, Gov. Newsom announced Thursday.

"The sooner that we get everyone vaccinated or the high percentage of our community vaccinated, I think the sooner we will feel like we're getting back to some sort of normalcy," he said.

Vaccine eligibility for Californians 16 and older starts April 15.

While vaccine hesitancy is still a concern, Alvarez said with so many other family members and friends already vaccinated, he is seeing a surge of willingness.

"Summer is around the corner," he said. "Graduations are coming our way, and I don't think we are ready for a repeat of 2020 with those special moments."
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