California hits 80 percent threshold for vaccinations

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California on Tuesday surpassed the 80 percent threshold for residents ages 12 and older who have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with officials urging those who have not yet gotten the shot to do so quickly to prevent further surges in cases and hospitalizations.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced the milestone in a press release, noting that California has “put more shots in arms than any other state.”

“We’ve made incredible progress vaccinating our population in a remarkably short amount of time, and our work continues to close the gap in our most impacted communities,” he added in a statement. 

Newsom went on to argue that “getting vaccinated is the key to protecting against COVID-19 and the faster-spreading Delta variant.” 

“It’s how we end this thing,” he said. 

Newsom, who is facing a recall election later this month, has joined other California leaders to push for increased vaccinations by citing the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Americans ages 16 and older.

The Pfizer vaccine is the first COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. to move past an emergency use authorization. Those as young as 12 can also get the vaccine under the emergency authorization.

As of Tuesday, nearly 69 percent of California’s total population had received at least one COVID-19 shot, with about 56 percent fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Newsom also on Tuesday released his latest “On the Record” ethnic media column, in which he noted that “many of our most vulnerable communities where we are seeing low vaccination rates are targets of disinformation campaigns, which continue to put lives at risk, including our youngest children who are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.” 

“Working with ethnic media, faith-based and community-based organizations, and many unique partners who are trusted messengers has been crucial to dispelling some of the most prevalent myths out there,” he added. 

“It’s time to fully embrace the facts that prove vaccines work, are safe, and are free – regardless of immigration status,” Newsom said. 

Last month, the governor announced that all state employees and health care workers would be required to either provide proof of vaccination or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. 

California earlier this month also said it would be imposing a similar vaccination requirement for teachers and staff at public schools across the state, with Newsom calling it “a sustainable way of keeping schools open.” 

The state has also required all teachers and students to wear masks in schools, an issue which has resulted in legal battles in places like Texas and Florida, which have both imposed bans on school mask mandates.

Tags BioNTech California Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CDC coronavirus pandemic coronavirus vaccine FDA Gavin Newsom Gavin Newsom Pfizer vaccine mandate

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