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Why Sacramento County is not likely to move to the red tier anytime soon

Tier eligibility is changing to reflect vaccination rates, but Sacramento County may stay in the most restrictive purple tier.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — As several counties begin to ease restrictions, following movement in California's COVID-19 tier system, people and businesses in other counties, such as Sacramento, are wondering when it will be their turn.

Earlier this month, California announced plans to set aside 40% of all vaccine doses for the state's most vulnerable neighborhoods to inoculate people most at-risk from the coronavirus more quickly. Once 2 million vaccine doses are given out in those neighborhoods, the state will make it easier for counties to move through reopening tiers that dictate what businesses can be open.

"We want to incorporate vaccination rates into the tiering, and that will allow people to move more quickly through the tiers," Governor Newsom explained.

However, larger counties like Sacramento County may not see any effect from the new tier eligibility requirement.

The state's decision to distribute vaccines to those ZIP codes is based on the "healthy places index." This database ranks things like family income, education level, access to public transportation, and air quality, among others. 

Dr. Brad Pollock with UC Davis says Sacramento County already has what he calls a “chaotic vaccine rollout.” The county also has serval communities, including Florin, Rosemount and Fruitridge, which fall into the ZIP codes that are being hit hardest by COVID-19.

“We have a number of ZIP codes that fall into their index so I don’t know if there will be any net change in the total number of doses that will come to Sacramento because of this change,” Pollock said.

Pollock does believe the state’s new vaccine metric may give Placer County a second chance to move tiers.

“El Dorado and Placer County have no ZIP codes that fit into this category," Pollock explained.

WATCH NEXT: Indoor dining could return to Placer, Solano and more counties after move to red tier

12 counties may be eligible for a move from the most restrictive purple tier, meaning indoor dining and other businesses are cleared to reopen.

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