Vaccine eligibility expands to 16 and older

EL CENTRO – Effective today, any Imperial County resident 16 and older is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

County health officials said registration for appointments will continue to be available through the State of California’s My Turn system (

For providers receiving vaccine from a federal program, their information can be found on Individuals may also check with their local providers to inquire about vaccine availability and appointments.

“We’ve seen a significant drop in the number of COVID-19 cases nationally, statewide and locally due in large part to the number of people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Imperial County Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday in a release issued Thursday. “Eligible residents should get vaccinated as soon as possible and with whichever vaccine is available. Increasing the number of individuals who receive the COVID-19 vaccine is an important step in ending the pandemic.”

Earlier this week, having met significant milestones in the number of Californians vaccinated, the state announced updates to the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The update allowed Imperial County to move the orange tier.

An amended health officer order has been be developed reflecting these changes. In addition to those guidelines and restrictions issued by the state, the amended order includes the following guidance.

One, singing, chanting, shouting, and the playing of wind instruments (any instrument played by the mouth, such as a trumpet or clarinet) shall be permitted in outdoor public or private venues where the performers are able to maintain a distance of at least 20 feet from the audience.

Two, the playing of wind instruments is prohibited in all indoor public and private venues. Singing, chanting, and shouting shall be permitted in indoor public or private venues if the following conditions are met: All performers and audience members wear a face covering at all times, and all performers and audience members that are not from the same household are able to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of social distancing at all times.

The amended health officer is available on the Imperial County Public Health Department website. Guidance related to playing wind instruments indoors may change soon as the state plans to release new guidance on April 15.

 Once those changes are announced, the local health order will be amended to reflect the new guidance and information will be shared with the public, the health department said.

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