Feb 7 – According to Contra Costa Health Services, a limited vaccine supply is resulting in a widespread inability to make new appointments, and in some cases, can lead to cancellations of existing appointments. For the time being, the scarcity of COVID-19 vaccination doses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area has led health officials in eight jurisdictions to urge all health systems to prioritize shots for patients aged 65 and older because of the virus’ high mortality rate within that group. This is in addition to continuing vaccine Phase 1A-eligible health care workers, many of whom are now expecting their second doses.
Across the region, most COVID-19 deaths have been in the 65-and-up age group. In Contra Costa, 82% of COVID-19 deaths have been in the 65-and-up age group. Thus, focusing vaccination efforts on those at greatest risk of death will have the biggest immediate impact on saving lives.
The Bay Area continues to receive only a small fraction of the vaccines needed to vaccinate residents aged 65 and older, much less the broader occupation-based groups the state has included in Phase 1B Tier 1, including educators, food and agricultural workers, and emergency services personnel. Across the Bay Area, weekly dose allocations from the State of California – based on a formula designed to ensure fair distribution statewide – have slowed. With the current pace of supply, it will take several weeks to offer a first dose to all older adults who would like to be vaccinated.
In addition, administering Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine requires a parallel effort to provide a second dose a few weeks after the first. The need for second doses limits the number of people who can be newly vaccinated each week.
Some counties have had to consider extending vaccine availability to allow for second dose administration up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if the second dose cannot be scheduled in the recommended timeframe. The CDC states that the data from clinical trials supports this range. ”Modest delays in the administration of the second dose, if absolutely necessary, would not be expected to decrease the protection conferred by the second dose,” the FDA said in a statement.
People who are eligible to be vaccinated should contact their healthcare provider for more information or to make an appointment.
Contra Costa Health Services:
Vaccine Appointment Request Form
Contra Costa Regional Medical Center & Health Centers
John Muir Health
Kaiser Permanente
La Clinica
Lifelong Medical
Optum Serve
Sutter Health
Contra Costa residents can learn the latest information about vaccine distribution and prepare for when it’s their turn for a shot by visiting the cunty website, https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/vaccine.