California made another 4 million people eligible for the coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, intensifying competition between the state’s largest counties as they race to acquire enough doses to inoculate their populations as the state undergoes a new influx of new ones. cases and deaths.
The decision to allow people aged 65 and over to receive the vaccine has embarrassed some government officials, who say they currently do not even have enough doses to vaccinate those who were already eligible. In Santa Clara County, home to nearly 2 million people, public health officials said they would only vaccinate people over the age of 75 because they did not have enough doses to go around.
California has received more than 2.4 million doses of vaccines since Monday, but only a third of them have been used. 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.
On Wednesday, officials opened a vaccination site at Disneyland, boasting that it could eventually inoculate up to 7,000 people a day. Speaking at a press conference in the usual busy parking lot, Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffy made a direct call to President-elect Joe Biden and his goal to vaccinate 100 million people in the first 100 days of office.
“We can help you with that,” Chaffy said. “We have the plan, the facilities, the staff and the desire to do at least 1.5 million vaccinations a month. So, can you send us 4 million doses? “
About 375 miles north, Santa Clara County officials went to Governor Gavin Newsum, who has a commitment to vaccinate 1 million people by Friday. They say they can take 35,000 doses a week. But when they asked the state for 100,000 doses, they received only 6,000.
“I’m sure the good people of Santa Clara County can vaccinate two or three times more people than the state ever imagined,” said supervisor Mike Wasserman. “Governor, if you want to reach that number of a million doses, give doses to Santa Clara County.”
Complicating the problem: Many government officials do not know how vaccines are used in their areas. The shipments will go to the county public health services, as well as to hospital chains and pharmacies that serve multiple counties; they should not tell local officials how to use them.
This made it difficult for local authorities to plan for achieving their goals. Orange County wants most of its more than 3 million people to be vaccinated by July 4th. Santa Clara County wants at least 85% of its residents valid until August 1.
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 and administered more than 92,000 of them – although the total is likely, as vaccines are also provided by defense ministries and veterans for the major military presence in the region.
San Diego has about 620,000 health workers and long-term residents of health facilities. Making people 65 and older eligible for the vaccine adds another 500,000 people to the mix.
“It’s great that the state said, ‘Hey, people aged 65 and over are eligible for vaccines,’ but that requires counties to actually have the vaccines,” said District Superintendent Nathan Fletcher.
The confusion was sharply criticized by Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove, who called the distribution an “absolute failure.” A bipartisan group of state lawmakers sent a letter to Newsom asking for more details on when vaccines will be available.
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.”
California has seen cases of viruses and hospitalizations explode since Thanksgiving, although the numbers have smoothed out in recent days. Newly reported cases in the past 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 reported another 589 deaths on Wednesday, leading to a total of 31,102 and 33,751 new infections, some of which will inevitably lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.
Newsom also announced a new system for people to check if they are eligible for the vaccine. Orange County already has a similar system. Tuesday night, more than 10,000 people have scheduled a meeting there, and thousands more have asked to be notified when more meetings become available.
Gary Dohman, 81, said his son had scheduled the meeting to get the vaccine in a Disneyland parking lot using the county’s Othena app. He tried to do the same for Dohman’s 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 could not go anywhere after the pandemic, 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. “
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