California counties work to keep up with vaccine demand

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Posted at 8:10 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 00:29:11-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — With more people now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, some worry there won't be enough vaccine supply for people in previous groups still trying to get a shot.

In an email, a viewer wrote that he's 62-years-old with chronic kidney disease.

"It is extremely frustrating to know that the process is about to be opened to basically everyone in the next 2 to 3 weeks when those of us eligible now can't get an appointment," he wrote.

On Thursday, the state opened vaccination appointments for people 50 or older. On April 15, every Californian age 16 or older will be eligible.

At a press conference last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, "In just a few weeks, there will be no rules, no limitations as it relates to the ability to get a vaccine administered.”

That's if people can find an appointment.

Right now, in many counties, the demand still outweighs supply.

A Kern County spokesperson said they have more than 100 vaccination providers who are receiving vaccines from the third-party administrator, which has taken over vaccine allotment and coordination for the state.

"Our providers are vaccinating as quickly as we are receiving doses; however, as of last week, we have only received enough doses to vaccinate 35% of our 16 and older population. We are hopeful that our vaccine supply will increase along with these additional eligible tiers opening to ensure we can get all of our residents vaccinated," the spokesperson said.

The county is encouraging residents who are currently eligible to get vaccinated now, as we are unsure what the availability of vaccination appointments will look like once these additional eligibility groups are opened.

In San Luis Obispo County, officials announced that it would be opening to those over 50 three days ahead of the governor's announcement.

The county made this announcement based on current capacity at vaccination clinics and on expanded vaccine availability at local health care provider and pharmacy locations.

A county spokesperson said, "our vaccine clinics are already able to provide approximately 1,000 doses of vaccine a day, but we have yet to reach that amount on a regular basis at all three sites due to limited vaccine supply. If vaccine supply increases as we hope, we believe that the expanded community provider capacity, as well as our vaccination clinics, will be sufficient to handle additional demand."

As of Wednesday, state data shows more than 18 million doses of the vaccine have been administered.

The state is now averaging a little more than 328,526 shots a day.

In places like San Diego County as of Monday, the numbers show around 900,000 county residents have received at least one shot of the two-dose vaccine.

State health officials say even with increased vaccine supply, the vaccination of willing Californians will take several months.