Nearly 2M COVID-19 vaccines waiting in freezers across California, data shows

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Close to 80 percent of the nation is doing better than California when it comes to vaccine distribution.

As of January 27, California ranks 38th in the nation -- tied with Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Arizona. These states have vaccinated 6.9 percent of the population over 16 with the first dose.

Texas, which has distributed more than 3.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, vaccinated 7.6 percent of the 16+ population with the first dose. Alaska is ranked first, at 14.6 percent.

RELATED: California COVID-19 vaccine tracker: How the state is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

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However, Gov. Gavin Newsom said California is improving vaccine distribution.

"Just a few weeks ago we were doing 43,000 vaccinations... two weeks later we've been doing 131,000 vaccines," said Newsom during a press conference Monday.

ABC7's data analysis found those numbers do check out. The state averaged around 142,000 vaccinations per day between Sunday and Thursday.

Two weeks ago, 40 percent of doses were administered in California. Now, the state has administered around 61 percent.

RELATED: Blue Shield of California tapped to run state COVID-19 vaccine system

ABC7 News spoke to Louise Aronson who sits on the state's vaccine distribution workforce and is also a professor of Geriatrics at UC San Francisco.

Stephanie Sierra: "If we stay at this pace, how long do you think it will take to vaccinate a majority of the population?"

Louise Aronson: "Months, months and months... a very long time."

Stephanie: "Months or years?"

Louise: "If we took the pace of a couple weeks ago we could be talking years, if we took the pace of now, it would be months or a better part of a year, maybe."

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

Aronson says the biggest hurdle now stems from the lack of vaccine supply.

"There are places that are all ramped up, but they don't have vaccine to give," she said.

The other big hurdle is the lack of logistical planning.

"Most of it began in December, which was clearly way too late for something this large," Aronson said.

The state's distribution workforce is recommending the Governor develop better systems for logistics, ensure simple prioritization structures, and increase the availability of the vaccine.


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