In his first press conference this year, Governor Gavin Newsom warned of a post-holiday COVID-19 surge and set out plans to step up vaccinations.
Newsom says that in the coming weeks California faces a “surge on top of a surge”.
On Sunday, California reported nearly 30,000 new cases. The governor warned that figure could actually be deceptively low due to reduced testing over the holiday period.
The state has received nearly 1.3 million vaccines but only around a third have been administered.
Newsom says that rate is not good enough: “We are working aggressively to accelerate our pace. We’ve said this from day one, it’s like a flywheel -- first 10, 15 days we’re going to slowly start building pace and you’re going to see more rapid distribution of this vaccine, I can assure you of that.
“That said, it’s gone too slowly, I know for many of us, all of us I think. We want to see 100% of what’s received immediately administered in people’s arms. And so that’s a challenge, a challenge across this country, it's a challenge for that matter around the rest of the world but that’s not an excuse.”
Newsom said pharmacies, dentists and the National Guard have been given the green light to offer vaccinations. He says he’ll announce more details about the vaccination program, including priority groups, later this week.
The state's Community Vaccine Advisory Committee meets Jan. 6 to discuss the program. Members of the public can follow proceedings via a YouTube live stream.
For vaccination program updates, visit California's COVID-19 site.