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Who is being prioritized in SLO County's vaccine appointment registry

Posted at 10:44 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 02:09:44-04

Vaccine eligibility opened up to several new demographics this week, leaving some in San Luis Obispo County's appointment registry wondering what will happen with their appointment.

On Wednesday, the County says those who have been in the system will be prioritized over these new groups, but there are some exceptions.

SLO County resident Anne Turner has been waiting for her return to normal, something she feels she'll be closer to with the vaccine.

"We're not seeing family, we're not going anywhere on Spring Break, we're not doing indoor dining yet, and we're just not comfortable with that until more members of our family get vaccinated," Turner said.

Turner works in the education field and says she registered when availability opened up to that sector; however, she says she still is waiting to be selected for an appointment.

"It feels like everybody else has already gotten an appointment or gotten a shot. So I'm having the feeling of being happy for them, but I'm also super jealous!" Turner said.

Who is the priority in the registry was a question fielded by the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department Wednesday afternoon.

"We have heard from some people who say: 'I've been waiting in the system and I haven't been able to get an appointment,' that mostly happens at this point in time for people who are restrictive about what days or what sites they have to get their vaccine," Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer, said.

Dr. Borenstein says those in the highest risk categories will get to jump the line.

"So even if an 80-year-old decides for the first time today they are ready now to get into the registry, they will be selected for an appointment before a 50-year-old who registers for the first time," Dr. Borenstein said.

Now another new group of people could be signing up: potential jurors.

"Jurors who receive a summons can use that summons as their means of eligibility to make an appointment and get their vaccination so that they will be protected if and when they are seated in a jury," Dr. Borenstein said.

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow says they have been struggling with juror retention throughout the pandemic.

"We've had to, through the jury commissioner, summon many more people to come to court and perform jury service since COVID started because quite frankly, a lot of people are afraid to come into court," Dow said.

He believes this new incentive may help people feel more comfortable participating on a jury.

"We need people in our community to ensure our criminal justice system has access for the accused. For victims and witnesses to feel like the system serves them we need juries and we encourage them to serve," Dow said.

Dr. Borenstein says they are seeing less demand for the vaccine at the County's clinics now that availability has opened up at private providers like CVS and Rite Aid.

The County says it will have roughly 9 thousand first-dose appointments next week.