Bay Area pharmacies canceling, postponing booster appointments as high demand increases

Some pharmacies say it's because they have run out of doses to give, and are working to get more inventory.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Booster appts. canceled as pharmacies run out of COVID vaccine
High demand for the COVID-19 booster shot is causing some Bay Area pharmacies to run out of doses, leading to postponed or even canceled appointments.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- As the demand for COVID-19 booster shots increases, we are getting reports of people showing up to local pharmacies and realizing their appointments were either canceled, or the pharmacy ran out of vaccines.

25 million Californians are fully vaccinated. For many, it's been more than six months since their second shot, which means, it's time for a booster.

Kathleen Gustin was hoping to get a booster this week, but on the CVS website she kept getting messages saying there were no appointments available.

"You put in a new date and then of the five places in Marin nobody had one. Then I would go another day in the five places and nobody. Finally Northgate had one in two weeks," said Gustin.

RELATED: Demand for COVID boosters soars after California lifts eligibility restrictions

We found the same story inside a CVS Pharmacy in Marin County. They ran out of vaccines on Friday.

Liz Foley was scheduled to get her booster shot on Sunday,

"We had the appointment made for about three weeks and it was the Sunday after Thanksgiving and I got a text, 'your appointment has been canceled.' I got an email, 'your appointment has been canceled,' and then I got a phone call," said Foley.

Turns out Liz Foley and Kathleen Gustin are not the only ones either getting their booster appointments canceled or having a difficult time booking an appointment at a local pharmacy.

VIDEO: CA's new COVID-19 booster policy creates confusion; here's how to navigate an appointment

There is now widespread confusion in California about who can book a booster appointment and how.

"All are impacted to some degree. There are rarely a few where they have actually run out before the end of the day and they have to send people away. That is something they recognize and need to address very soon. In conversations with CVS I just had, they are addressing that issue," said Dr. Matt Willis, Public Health Officer for Marin County.

Dr. Matt Willis said the booster delays should be fixed in a matter of days.

"This is a logistical issue. The demand has increased so quickly that not all of our pharmacies have been able to keep up with that demand," said Dr. Willis.

In a statement Walgreens said,

"We have adequate supply of COVID-19 vaccinations in the majority of our stores to support administration of both initial series and additional dose COVID-19 vaccines to eligible patients. There may be an instance where a location is temporarily low on supply and we are working to provide additional inventory to those locations. Patients seeking COVID-19 vaccinations can work with each individual store to find a location nearby that may have additional supply. We also encourage patients to make appointments for flu, COVID-19 and booster vaccinations through or 1-800-WALGREENS."

RELATED: SF residents struggle to secure COVID booster appts before holidays

CVS said there was a vaccine shipment delay to their store in Greenbrae California.

"A vaccine shipment was temporarily delayed to our store in Greenbrae, CA, but now has been replenished. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our patients. All our vaccinating pharmacies currently have supply. We have the inventory and capacity to meet COVID-19 vaccine needs, including in areas of high demand. We continue to strongly encourage patients to make a vaccination appointment at or on the CVS app, where they can schedule a convenient time and location up to two weeks in advance."

A delay that some hope won't be long, "Two weeks is nothing. We just went through almost two years. Two weeks easy-peasy. I'll be careful," said Gustin.

What can you do to get a booster appointment? You have several options:

  • 1. Book an appointment through your medical provider
  • 2. Go to your county's vaccination site
  • 3. Book an appointment through California's MyTurn website
  • 4. Book an appointment through your local pharmacies

Keep in mind that you might have to wait at least two weeks, depending on where you book your appointment.