SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — California announced Thursday that it will expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to residents over 50 on April 1 and then expands it to 16 and over on April 15 on the basis of expected supply increases.

“With vaccine supply increasing and by expanding eligibility to more Californians, the light at the end of the tunnel continues to get brighter,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “We remain focused on equity as we extend vaccine eligibility to those older than 50 starting April 1, and those older than 16 starting April 15. This is possible thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration and the countless public health officials across the state who have stepped up to get shots into arms.”

Tulare County has already gone ahead of the state and expanded its eligibility to anyone 50 and older as of Thursday.

The state expects to be allocated about 2.5 million first and second doses per week in the first half of April, and more than 3 million doses in the second half of April.

Officials said California has the capacity to administer more than 3 million vaccines per week, and is building the capacity to administer 4 million vaccines weekly by the end of April.

“We are even closer to putting this pandemic behind us with today’s announcement and with vaccine supplies expected to increase dramatically in the months ahead,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “However, we are not there yet. It will take time to vaccinate all eligible Californians. During this time, we must not let our guard down. It is important that we remain vigilant, continue to wear masks and follow public health guidance.”

Despite expanded vaccine supplies, officials said it is expected to take several months for willing Californians to be vaccinated.

In a press conference Thursday, Newsom said family members of those eligible to be vaccinated will be accommodated no questions asked. Providers have the flexibility to provide those doses if they can.

The state is expecting to receive several million vaccine doses per week starting sometime in April.