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High-risk patients, airline employees, homeless now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Those who are at a higher risk of COVID-19 are now eligible to get the vaccine through their healthcare provider. This also includes homeless and airline workers.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Those who are at a higher risk of mortality from COVID-19 are now eligible to receive the vaccine, according to the California Department of Public Health.

One of those individuals is Marques Washington, who ABC10 first featured in May 2020. Along with other health conditions, Washington has been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant since 2016. That's why when we initially spoke with him, as the world first changed due to the pandemic, he was especially concerned.

For the past year, he's had to double down on taking all safety precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19.

"I'm just going to be real," Washington said. "Isolation... COVID... all this has been tough."

But, with him now being able to receive the vaccine, comes relief.

Washington is among a vast group the California Department of Public Health has deemed at an increased risk of COVID-19. Because of this, the CDPH said healthcare providers can use their judgement to vaccinate those between the ages of 16 and 64 who are at-risk.

This includes:

  • Cancer (current with debilitated or immunocompromised state)
  • Chronic kidney disease (stage 4 or above)
  • Chronic pulmonary disease (oxygen dependent)
  • Down syndrome
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies)
  • Severe obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

It also includes those who work or live in group settings like public transit operators, airline employees and those experiencing homelessness. For a full list, click here.

"It gives me a level of comfort," Washington said. "I was this military person. And so I'm like well... if this is what I do and this puts us forward, so be it. I think we have to do what we can do so we can all move forward."

WATCH NEXT: Here's who is eligible for the vaccine under higher-risk health conditions update

4.4 million more people are now eligible for the vaccine if they have "underlying health conditions" that put them at greater risk of serious illness.