VaccineAllocationGuidelines Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Guidelines

​​​N​ote: This webpage is no longer current and is for historical purposes only. See the CDPH COVID-19 Vaccine landing page for the latest information.

Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Guidelines

Achieving equity

This age-based framework will be coupled with a vaccine distribution and engagement approach that prioritizes disproportionately impacted communities, settings, and populations to ensure those eligible for vaccines within these communities are more likely to receive it. 

Minimizing disuse of scarce COVID-19 vaccine

To avoid wastage or disuse of scarce supplies and maximize their benefit to Californians:

  • Allocations of doses are made on the assumption that immunization will be accepted by some but not all who are offered the vaccine, and then adjust later allocations based on the number of doses that are accepted.
  • After focused and appropriate efforts to reach the groups prioritized at that moment, providers may offer vaccine promptly to persons in lower priority groups when:
    • Demand subsides in the current groups, or
    • Doses are about to expire according to labeling instructions.
  • Providers may temporarily adjust prioritization based on other resource constraints while continuing efforts to immunize higher priority groups as soon as feasible.

Other Frequently Asked Questions: 

If someone was given a first dose of vaccine that does not meet the most up to date vaccine eligibility criteria, should they receive a second?

Individuals who have already received their 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine should receive their 2nd dose at the recommended interval for that vaccine.

Are family member caregivers of regional center consumers eligible as healthcare providers for Phase 1A? 

Yes, family member caregivers with direct risk of COVID-19 exposure who care for regional center consumers at high risk of COVID-19 complications and related fatalities including the following conditions: cerebral palsy, down syndrome, epilepsy, and individuals who have specialized health care needs, including dependence upon ventilators, oxygen, and other technology are eligible.   This does not include other family members within the same household who do not provide direct care to the regional center consumer.  Eligible family members must obtain documentation from their regional centers, verifying the qualifying condition of the family member cared for and caregiver status.  

Are massage therapists eligible for Phase 1A?

Yes, massage therapists are considered Phase 1a under Alternative Medical Practitioners.  (Mass vaccination clinics may limit to certified therapists)

Are janitors eligible for a vaccine?

Yes, janitors are eligible for a vaccine. Janitors provide support to the health care, emergency services, and education sectors, which are covered under 1A and 1B. This includes a vast majority of sectors with janitorial support. Consequently as a practical matter and for ease of implementation, all janitors are eligible. 

Are couriers for vaccines and emergency supplies eligible for a vaccine?

Yes, these couriers are eligible as they play a critical role in the public health response spectrum as defined in #8 in the Health Care and Public Health Sector from the CA Essential Workforce list.


*Phase 1A eligibility

Occupation:  Persons at risk of direct patient exposure in settings included in the Health Care and Public Health Sector from the CA Essential Workforce list. This includes both clinical and non-clinical roles.  In addition, workers who come into direct contact with the virus through research, development, manufacturing or testing are included.  Finally, workers who are manufacturing vaccine, therapeutics, devices, supplies or personal protective equipment supporting the COVID-19 response are included due to the adverse public health impact that delays in production would cause. 

Workers included in the Health Care and Public Health Sector from CA Essential Workforce that are not considered eligible above for Phase 1A vaccinations include:

  • #12. Workers that manage health plans, billing, and health information (as opposed to administrative workers in clinical or other settings referenced elsewhere in this sector).
  • #22. Workers supporting operations of outdoor recreational facilities for the purpose of facilitating physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise.  Activities to facilitate outdoor exercise does not translate to direct occupational risk for COVID-19 patient exposures.

Technical notes:  Due to overlapping definitions in the Health Care and Public Health and Food and Agriculture Essential Workforce definitions, the following clarifications are necessary:

  • #7.  Cannabis industry employees are included in Phase 1a for medicinal cannabis and Phase 1b Food and Agriculture for growing, production, storage, transport and distribution. Medical cannabis workers should be accommodated as necessary in Phase 1b, Tier 1, by nature of their designations in eligible essential workforce classifications.

  • #21. Workers supporting veterinary services.  Phase 1b, Tier 1 Food & Agricultural workers, includes veterinary work in a wider variety of work settings.  In the context of COVID-19 vaccine, the focus for phase 1A is on human-to-human exposures in human clinical settings.  As such, veterinary services employees may be more appropriately vaccinated in Phase 1b.

Settings - High-risk Congregate Residential Facilities:

  • Residents of skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and similar long-term care settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals

Phase 1B eligibility

**Persons at risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 through their work in any role in the following Education and Child Care settings

  • All formal and informal childcare workers, including day care providers and the following:
    • Examples of informal childcare workers include: public and private recreation programs such as YMCA/YWCA, on campus afterschool programs, individuals or programs receiving a child care subsidy. Occasional babysitting should not be included 
  • Resource Family approved homes and certified family homes providing emergency or short-term foster care. While foster care is in a home care setting, the nature of it is temporary and may be a revolving door of children staying and leaving needing care.  
  • Those working in Children’s Residential Community Care facilities (e.g.  Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program, group homes, temporary shelter care facilities)
  • All staff in colleges, universities, junior colleges, community colleges, and other postsecondary education facilities
  • All staff in educational support services and administration
  • All staff in Pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools
  • All staff in technical and trade schools
  • Any other workers involved in child and/or student care, including school bus drivers and monitors, crosswalk guards, etc.
  • Library staff with occupational exposure to students
***Persons at risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 through their work in any role in the Food and Agriculture Sectors and Emergency Services Sectors from the CA Essential Workforce list and any employee working in a restaurant to the extent not described in the Food and Agriculture Sectors from the CA Essential Worker list.

The following are considered Emergency Services workers:
  • Utility Workers (Electricity, gas, water, waste, roads/highways) that provide emergency support. 
  • Disaster Service Workers (DSWs) if at risk of occupational exposure, once activated for emergency response, including those working in temporary non-congregate shelters
  • Social Workers. Workers responding to abuse and neglect of children, elders and dependent adults, including all front-line social workers and other staff required to enter the home (including mobile home or tent) of the individual at risk

​Originally Published February 13, 2021