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

J.R. Stone Image
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Woman who lost 9 family members to COVID questions vaccine rollout
EMBED <>More Videos

A woman from Richmond is questioning the speed of vaccine distribution after losing several family members to coronavirus while battling it herself.

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.

I-TEAM: CA doctor says vaccine distribution not going as planned, doses delayed for vulnerable communities

"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.

VIDEO: Gov. Gavin Newsom explains why COVID-19 vaccine rollout is slow going

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.

RELATED: To speed up COVID-19 vaccine access, CA doctor suggests single doses, delaying 2nd shot

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."

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here