California released a list of about 400 zip codes in the state that will receive priority vaccine allocates based on the state's Healthy Places Index
Zip codes in the lowest HPI quartile account for roughly 40% of COVID cases and deaths statewide, and are more likely to have residents with chronic health conditions
Two San Francisco zip codes, covering Treasure Island and parts of the Tenderloin, will receive priority access
Once California has administered 2 million doses in the prioritized zip codes, which may happen in a week or two, it will loosen the required threshold to enter the "red" tier. Once 4 million doses have been administered, it will loosen requirements for the orange and yellow tiers and potentially allow for a swifter reopening
In keeping with California's vaccine equity targets, the state released a list of communities with elevated health risks that will receive more doses and dedicated doses with the goal of inoculating populations most vulnerable to COVID.
The state is using a metric called Healthy Places Index, which assigns each zip code in the state a quartile ranking based on factors that influence health, such as access to hospitals, transportation, education and income levels. California will reserve 40% of doses specifically for zip codes in the lowest quartile, state officials told reporters last week.
"Getting vaccines to eligible residents in these areas is absolutely critical," said California Health and Human Services director Dr. Mark Ghaly. Communities in the lowest HPI quartile account for a disproportionate number of COVID cases and deaths in the state, he said.
Two San Francisco zip codes are ranked in the lowest quartile: 94130, which covers Treasure Island, and 94102, which covers parts of the Tenderloin, Civic Center and Hayes Valley.
Ghaly said the prioritization of at-risk zip codes won't affect the planned expansion of vaccine eligibility on March 15, which will give people with disabilities and certain chronic. conditions access to vaccines. The state is expecting vaccine supply to ramp up in the coming weeks, and areas in the lowest. health quartile tend to have "a disproportionate level of chronic illness," he said.
As of late last week, the state had administered roughly 1.6 million doses in the lowest-quartile zip codes. Once that figure reaches 2 million, the state is planning to adjust the color-coded risk tiers that determine what activities are permitted in counties across the state.
"Once we hit that trigger, it will shift the red tier threshold—so to move from the purple to red tier from a current case rate of 7 cases per day eper 100,000 population up to 10 cases per day," Ghaley said.
Once 4 million doses have been administered in the communities of interest, the state will also adjust the threshold for the orange and yellow tiers, potentially allowing for a speedier reopening of activities.
Outside of San Francisco, several Bay Area zip codes fall into the state's lowest health quartile. Three zip codes in Oakland, one in North Richmond, and four in Solano County will receive priority vaccine access under the new system.
State and local officials are hopeful that the recent approval of a third vaccine, a single-dose version manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, will significantly increase vaccine supply.
The state is considering tweaking allocations of the Johnson & Johnson dose that would make it available for populations that may have trouble returning for a second appointment or some other need for a single dose vaccine. Any such plans haven't been finalized yet, Ghaly said.