More than 4 million Californians woke up Monday morning eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine on the first day eligibility was expanded to include 16 to 64-year-olds with certain medical conditions, but are there enough doses to go around?
The short answer is no.
San Diego County received the same size vaccine shipment this week as it did last week, according to County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher. The problem of course, is that now hundreds of thousands of people are fighting for the same number of doses.
“I think the biggest concern for me -- Number one: Is do we have the supply?” wonders Corinne McDaniels-Davidson, director of the SDSU Institute for Public Health.
The majority of available appointments right now are reserved people who still need their second dose, according to Fletcher. Bottom line: Even though you may now qualify for a vaccine, it could be weeks before you can actually get one.
“There’s not enough supply to meet the demand,” Fletcher said.
Last week President Joe Biden directed states to make anyone 18 and older eligible for a vaccine by May 1.
“By July the Fourth there’s a good chance you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or barbeque and celebrate Independence Day,” Biden said last Thursday, the first anniversary of the World Health Orginastion declaring the coronavirus a pandemic.
But in order to meet the president's demands, Fletcher said the county needs to start receiving larger shipments in the next several weeks.
“We really need to start ramping up if we’re going to meet that goal,” he said.
California COVID-19 Vaccinations
The map tracks the number of doses administered by a recipient's county of residence according to the The California Department of Public Health.
It was announced Monday that the vaccination super station at the Del Mar Fairgrounds would pause operations for three days this week due to a supply shortage/
The county isn't requiring a doctor’s note or medical record to prove you have an underlying condition – raising some concerns about people lying to cut in line.
“We will be relying on the good nature of San Diegans to not show up for an underlying health condition unless you actually have an underlying health condition,” Fletcher said.
McDaniels-Davidson said a doctor's note or medical record would discourage those who don't have a printer or physician from getting a vaccine.
“I’m not worried about some people getting through and getting vaccinated when they shouldn’t be yet,” McDaniels-Davidson said. “What I’m more worried about is putting up barriers for people who are eligible, who desperately do need the vaccine.”
If anything, she wants to make the process more accessible.
“Walk-ins would be great if we could get that going the way we did with testing,” McDaniels-Davidson said.
As of March 10, the county reports more than 71% of residents ages 65 and older have now gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
According to the County Health and Human Services Agency, people with underlying medical conditions account for 96% of COVID-19 deaths.