Here's why California seniors are still waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine despite governor's go-ahead

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ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Here's why seniors must wait for the COVID-19 vaccine
For Bay Area seniors, the wait for a COVID-19 vaccine is likely to take months.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Ever since Wednesday, when California Governor Gavin Newsom opened COVID-19 vaccinations to seniors age 65 and older, they have been frustrated.

It was good news for them at the time.

Seniors citizens assumed they could line up immediately.

RELATED: How can I register for a COVID-19 vaccine in California? Here's how it works in every Bay Area county

That has not been the case.

"If you are calling about COVID vaccine, we are unable to schedule due to limited availability."

That was the pre-recorded voice on Kaiser Permanente's line, Friday morning, after they stopped putting people on hold for vaccine appointments.

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VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

"It was a little over two hours," said Gary Saxe.

"I was cooking dinner, then I ate dinner," said Yoni Mayeri. "Then I played with my cat, did Tick-Tock, email."

"All while waiting on hold?" ABC7's Wayne Freedman asked.

'I wasn't going to listen to that recording for four and a half hours."

Mayeri and Saxe will get vaccinated, but weeks from now.

RELATED: 100 million shots just the start of Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan

Do not blame the medical groups. This new call for vaccinations has left them unexpectedly overwhelmed.

"They feel blindsided. Thrown under a bus," said one official who asked to reman anonymous.

"Just yesterday, we received four times the normal call volume into what just one of our call centers," said Carrie Plietz, president of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.

"The reality is we just don't have the doses to match the demand. And we have just increased that demand by expanding the age group."

Marin County's Health Director, Dr. Matt Willis, blames an absence of information, basic stuff like how much vaccine he will receive and when.

That makes planning difficult. It became more-so Friday when the federal government admitted its promised vaccine reserves do not exist.

"We need more doses," said Willis. "We need a clear plan. Really a lot of us feel we're fending for ourselves at the federal and state level."

In short, it's become a case of over-promising and under-delivering.

For seniors, what had been a hope of immediate shots is now likely to take months.

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