Richmond woman has lost 9 family members to COVID-19 amid nation's slow vaccine rollout

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Governor Gavin Newsom says the speed at which people are being vaccinated for coronavirus in California is "not good enough."

Monday, the Department of Consumer Affairs granted a waiver for dentists to administer the vaccine. This is one of many ideas out there to help speed things up.

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"When is it going to be distributed to the public? We're in January already," says Nelda Welten of Richmond, California.

Welten is referring to the COVID-19 vaccine and a rollout that some are calling very slow.

Nine of Welten's family members have died from COVID-19 complications in Texas as she dealt with the virus personally in California.

She says none of her Texas family members had any pre-existing conditions that she knew about and range in age from 31 to 62.

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Governor Gavin Newsom expects an even bigger post-holiday COVID-19 surge in California, he said in a noon press conference update today. He also gave an update on the regional stay-at-home order and the slow vaccine rollout.

She fought to hold back the tears as we spoke to her.

"Not seeing my family from Texas is really bad, especially when I lost loved ones that I couldn't even go to say goodbye to them so yeah it's been very hard," she said.

While Gov. Newsom criticizes the speed of vaccine distribution, doctors say it's going to be tough to expedite this process.

"Unfortunately I think we can speed it up a little bit, but for the vast amount of speeding up it's really tough to do because you can't change the system overnight," says Dr. Peter Chin-Hong from UCSF.

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Nationally there is talk of doing half doses, but that has yet to be approved.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has threatened hospitals there to speed things up or they'll face fines and lose out on vaccine shipments.

Dr. Chin-Hong says that is dangerous, "It's like telling your kid if you don't get an A+ I'm going to punish you, but then you don't provide the resources or the right schooling or the good teachers to make that kid a star."

Nelda says she's just hopeful that everyone will have a shot at getting the vaccine soon.

"I pray for everyone not just my family, that this goes away because this is no joke. I got it and it was the worst six weeks of my life."

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