East Bay residents turned away from CVS vaccine booster appointments as they face shortages

Luz Pena Image
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
CVS turns customers away as they face vaccine booster shortage
We are getting reports of Bay Area residents who are showing up to their COVID vaccine appointments to find out --- there are no boosters.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As Pfizer boosters are becoming available for people 65 years old and older or those with underlying health conditions, we are getting reports of Bay Area residents who are showing up to their appointments to find out --- there are no boosters.

October 5, the day Elisabeth Renner and William Bent were scheduled to get their Pfizer booster shot. They don't know each other but they're facing the same setbacks today.

"I originally had an appointment scheduled for the Clayton CVS today but the called me and said their fridge had gone bad. So I rescheduled online for this site," said Renner.

RELATED: At least 1 million people got unauthorized 3rd booster shot: CDC

Luz Pena: "You showed up here today and what did they say?"

Elizabeth Renner: "That we don't have it."

William Bent got a text message this morning an hour before his booster appointment.

"At 11:15 a.m. and I got a text that the appointment was cancelled," said Bent.

Elizabeth Renner did not get a text alert. Instead she drove 40 minutes to Walnut Creek to hear the news from the pharmacist," Sorry we don't have it. Schedule for next week. It's crazy," and added, "I'm going to get it, but there are people who are pushed by their family or something and they come in and have a negative thing and they just go: 'Well it's not meant to be. I'm not going to have a vaccine.' That's the sad part."

RELATED: Mass vaccination sites 'likely coming back' to the Bay Area to give out COVID-19 booster shots

We know of at least these two CVS locations: One in Montclair and a second in Walnut Creek where CVS staff members are putting up signs to let customers know they are out of boosters.

According to the CVS pharmacist at the 2000 Mountain Blvd, Montclair location they give out close to 80 vaccines a day. Today, zero.

"I thought I had an appointment for Friday for my booster shot. I was just notified that there's a sign on the door," said Jan Yager, Montclair Resident.

Contra Costa County says they just learned about the CVS booster shortage today.

"This is new information to all of us today. It is always frustrating for somebody to have an appointment for a vaccine and then find out is not available," said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia.

RELATED: Why you shouldn't rush to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot before it's your turn

Dr. Richard Besser, the former CDC acting director, explains what we need to know about booster shots for COVID-19.

A CVS spokesperson responded:

"While our stores continue to receive booster dose shipments and there is no widespread shortage of vaccine, the high demand for booster shots in some locations may have exceeded the initial allocation we received from the government.

We've administered more than 34 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to date and we encourage patients to make vaccine appointments at CVS.com or the CVS Pharmacy app.
We continue to meet the demand for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, in addition to providing our patients with trusted pharmacy care and innovative health solutions. Our teams remain flexible in meeting customers' needs in a dynamic environment. With flu cases expected to increase this fall and COVID-19 services still in high demand, we've embarked on a nationwide hiring push so we can continue to serve the health care needs of our communities. While there may be isolated instances of appointment cancellations, our stores continue to receive booster dose shipments and there is not a widespread shortage of vaccine."

A response that didn't sit well with Elizabeth Renner after trying twice to get a booster shot through CVS.

"It doesn't address the problem of identifying people ahead of time and telling them at all," said Renner.

CVS didn't give any specifics as to when these pharmacies will get boosters shots again.

Contra Costa County is getting their vaccines from the state and said their county vaccine sites are open for booster shots. Alameda County urges residents to visit https://myturn.ca.gov to book a booster shot appointment.

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

Having trouble loading the tracker above? Click here to open it in a new window.