As California moves closer to having vaccine eligibility open to all 16 and older, the question remains: Will there be enough supply to cover all those who qualify?
Here in San Diego County, and across the state, officials have repeatedly complained about vaccine supply problems.
“The availability of those appointments will continue to be very limited until the supply increases,” District 4 County Supervisor, and Board Chair, Nathan Fletcher during a news conference last week.
Fletcher asked for the public’s patience as the county waits for the state to increase its vaccine supply.
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“As the supply increases we’re going to be able to make more appointments available and get more shots in arms,” Fletcher said.
So far vaccines have been granted based on a phased system designed by the state meant to give eligibility to those who are most vulnerable. With eligibility opening up to everyone 16 and over, the county is about to be inundated with demand.
According to county officials, about 2.68 million San Diegans are over the age of 16. While some of them have already been vaccinated due to meeting other eligibility standards, most have not.
Dr. Eyal Oren, San Diego State University Interim Director of the School of Public Health, admits the first few days after the eligibility opens to those 16 and older might not run too smoothly.
“Initially I would suspect it would be quite challenging, depending on the system and the site," Dr. Oren said.
There is some good news, to meet the demand Gov. Newsom said the state expects to go from 1.8 million doses received each week to more than 3 million in April.
Dr. Oren said he's hopeful that, after the initial days, vaccine availability will ease up.
“In the United States, right now there is enough and more than enough in terms of the vaccines we need to be covered by the companies we’ve heard of,” said Dr. Oren. “I think there's reason to be optimistic that there will be vaccines for everyone.”
Dr. Oren is optimistic that by May, vaccines will be available to everyone who wishes to get one.