California is 2 days away from vaccine eligibility expansion, but are we ready to vaccinate 50+?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California is home to over 13 million people 50 and older. According to the state, more than 2 million have been vaccinated with at least one dose. That leaves more than 11 million waiting for Thursday when those 50+ become eligible to get vaccinated.

Luz Pena: "Mike, we are only two days away from this expansion. Is the state ready?"

Mike Wasserman: "It's really hard to know if the state is ready... In a way it feels like we're trying to get concert tickets. How long are they going to be waiting?"

Mike Wasserman is a member of the California vaccine advisory committee. He's concerned there won't be enough supply come Thursday.

"What about people who have trouble getting transportation to go get vaccinated? And so on April 1 you open to a group of people and what are they going to do?" said Dr. Wasserman.

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In 48 hours, millions will rush to schedule an appointment on the My Turn website. We contacted several health care providers to find out, what's their plan?

In a statement, Kaiser Permanente said:
"We will continue to expand our eligibility in accordance with state guidance. We plan to notify all our patients later this week about expanded eligibility. Updated eligibility information will also be on our website, along with instructions on how to book a COVID vaccination appointment. Our ability to actually schedule appointments for patients remains dependent on supply. While our first-dose allocations remain low, we are hopeful that the significant volume of vaccine that California is receiving will positively impact Sutter's allocation and enable us to fully utilize the capacity we've built across Northern California to vaccinate more than 25,000 patients a day."

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California is just days away from expanding vaccine eligibility on April 1 to residents ages 50 and up, but appointments will remain hard to come by until production ramps up and more vaccine is delivered to the state from federal authorities.



Kaiser Permanente had a similar response saying in part:
"We have expanded our capacity to deliver more vaccine doses at our own facilities as well as in multiple mass vaccination hubs, and have administered more than 4.8 million vaccine doses nationally. We are currently administering more than 400,000 vaccine doses every week in California, and we can do even more - all we need are more vaccine doses. To date, we have administered more than 3.3 million vaccines in California to both Kaiser Permanente members as well as those in the communities we serve."

The lack of transparency is also impacting counties at the local level.

Luz Pena: "How much vaccine did you receive this week that will help you vaccinate that specific group?"

Matt Willis: "We typically get about 10,000 doses from the state each week. We have about 30,000 residents or just between age 50 and age 64," said Willis, Marin County's health officer.

Dr. Willis says Marin County is ready with the logistics but it will take multiple weeks to vaccinate the 50 and over population if the vaccine allotment doesn't change.

Dr. Willis is concerned about the April 15th expansion, "We have about 80,000 residents who will be newly eligible to get vaccinated come mid-April. So without an increase in supply it's going to take us a long time to get through that group."

A California state official said those in the 50 age group should sign up on My Turn today ahead of Thursday.

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They said the state is waiting on more vaccine from the federal government. This week California got 2.1 million doses. Once they get a dose for you they say they will notify you.

California is projected to receive: 2.5 million doses a week by the first half of April and 3 million doses a week by the second week of April.

Time is ticking because in several weeks we have the biggest expansion April 15, when everyone qualifies.


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