SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California counties have been praying for more coronavirus vaccines as the state has added a potential 4 to 6 million people to those who qualify for the required doses.
Public health officials followed federal guidelines on Wednesday, announcing that people aged 65 and over could receive the two-dose vaccine.
But Los Angeles County, the most populous nation with 10 million people and the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, said it could not provide them immediately because it had not yet vaccinated health workers who first cracked the vaccine.
Only about a quarter of about 800,000 have been vaccinated, said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
“We’re not done with our health workers, and we don’t really have enough vaccine right now to be able to do it faster,” Ferrer said. “We haven’t heard from the state about the availability of vaccines and how they will be distributed.”
California has seen viruses and hospitalizations erupt since the fall, although the number has smoothed out in recent days. Still, the newly reported cases in the last seven days in the country’s most populous country are far ahead of others, such as Texas and Florida, the second and third most populous states in the United States.
California on Wednesday reported another 589 deaths, resulting in a total of more than 31,000 and nearly 34,000 new infections, some of which will inevitably lead to more hospitalizations and deaths. There are also concerns about another jump in COVID-19 after January, as people who have gathered unsafely for New Year’s Eve begin to fall ill.
California has received more than 2.4 million doses of vaccines since Monday, but only a third of them have been used. The state aims to administer nearly 1.5 million doses of vaccine by Friday – still a small portion of what is needed for herd immunity in a country of nearly 40 million people.
Nearly 50 state lawmakers signed a letter to Gov. Gavin News on Wednesday, noting that President Joe Biden’s incoming administration has announced plans to release “almost all available” vaccines for the states and asking counties to receive supply updates and a “reliable” four. . -weekly forecast for the expected quantities of vaccines.
They also asked the governor to extend the permit on who can administer doses to include nursing students, retired nurses, firefighters and members of the National Guard with medical training.
Newsum said the state’s priority was to deliver vaccines “as quickly as possible to those facing the worst consequences.” He called for patience for those who still do not meet the conditions, saying: “Your turn is coming.”
Meanwhile, local authorities are moving rapidly to create massive vaccine distribution sites in the hope that they can persuade government and federal officials to send them more doses.
Santa Clara County Public Health officials say the 2 million-strong county has enough vaccine to dose only people over the age of 75. Officials said they had asked the state for 100,000 doses but received 6,000.
“It’s almost like a beauty contest. And this does not have to be a beauty contest. It’s about life and death, “said Santa Clara County Superintendent Cindy Chavez.
In Orange County, a vaccination site that opened Wednesday in a Disneyland parking lot that officials boasted about could eventually vaccinate up to 7,000 people a day.
“Can you send us 4 million doses?” District Superintendent Doug Chaffy said in a call for a press conference on Biden.
More than 10,000 people have scheduled a vaccination appointment through online registration in Othena County, with thousands more waiting their chance.
Gary Dohman, 81, said his son had scheduled the meeting to get the vaccine Wednesday at Disneyland. Dohman tried to do the same for his 79-year-old wife, but the system was so overwhelmed with demands that he failed to get one until Thursday.
Dohman, who is being treated for cancer, said he has not been able to go anywhere since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, except for a doctor’s appointment, so he is eager to get the vaccine.
“I’ve been in the house since March,” he said. “I am 81 years old. There are a few things on my bucket list that I would like to do more. “
Video: Some responders in Los Angeles do not want to be vaccinated against COVID (ABC 7 Los Angeles)
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Dosage estimates for counties are also complex, as some workers in hospitals and nursing homes – up to 50% in some counties, according to some limited studies – refuse early vaccination due to various safety concerns that public health officials say are unfounded.
Many government officials also said they did not know how vaccines were used in their areas. The shipments will go to the county public health services, but also to hospital chains and pharmacies that serve multiple counties; they should not tell local officials how to use them.
This makes it difficult for local authorities to plan to achieve their goals of vaccinating most of their residents by mid-summer.
Santa Clara County supervisors have proposed a new law that would require major health systems to “draw up detailed, written plans and deadlines” for the distribution of vaccines and make those plans public.
“We want to create an environment where there is no competition, maximum cooperation,” Chavez said. “But the longer it takes to react, the more the scarcity mentality will begin and cities, counties and states will start pushing each other.”
Sutter Health said it first offered the vaccine to healthcare professionals and will begin vaccinating patients over the age of 75 “later this week.” Kaiser Permanente said it was following the guidelines for setting priorities for government and federal officials.
San Diego County, home to 3.3 million people, has received more than 241,000 doses. Officials said the addition of 65-year-olds would make another 500,000 eligible, but the question is when the doses will arrive.
“We expect more vaccines to arrive soon, but we don’t know when or how many,” said Nathan Fletcher, chairman of the San Diego County Supervisory Board.
Amy Thaksin reported from Orange County. Gianni Har in San Francisco, Elliott Spagat in San Diego and Don Thompson and Kathleen Ronaine in Sacramento also contributed to this report.
The COVID-19 vaccine was administered on-site to healthcare workers at the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, in Pacoima, California. (AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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