California Struggles to Vaccinate With Dwindling Supply of Doses

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California officials announced on Wednesday that health care providers were allowed to resume their use of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine after investigation of the previous instances of allergic reactions found that the batch was safe.

The news comes as hope for eligible residents looking to be vaccinated as the state now has more available doses in the coming days. Previously, San Francisco’s public health department was on the verge of running out of its supply on Thursday before the temporary suspension was lifted.

Limited Vaccine Supply

Fortunately, officials’ decision to resume the use of the doses lessens health care providers’ worries of not having enough as at least 8,000 more Moderna vaccines, which were put on hold, are now available.

A collaboration with a state coronavirus vaccine safety committee and other local and federal agencies studies the issue of allergic reactions in San Diego after being injected with Moderna’s vaccine. The group determined that the entirety of the state’s 330,000 dose-supply from Moderna were safe to use.

“Providers that paused vaccine administration from Moderna Lot 41L20A can immediately resume,” a statement of the state said on Wednesday night.

However, despite the lifting of the suspension on Moderna’s vaccine, California is still at risk of running out of doses due to the inconsistency of its supply from the federal and state governments.

On Wednesday, San Francisco officials expressed their hopes that all eligible residents in the city would be inoculated before the end of June. However, they noted that the region needed much more supply of the vaccine to meet the demand.

“The chief obstacle is there’s not enough doses. We acknowledge that the process has been slow and frustrating for all of us,” said the CEO of the San Francisco Health Network, Roland Pickens, during a Board of Supervisors hearing on Wednesday.

Only about 3.4% of the city’s population have been vaccinated as of Monday, as observed in the latest data. The numbers equate to roughly 29,599 individuals who have received their first dose of the vaccine. Additionally, only about 0.7% of San Francisco’s population, roughly about 6,483 people, have received their second doses.

Eligible Residents

San Francisco is home to about 870,000 individuals, and neither of its two available vaccines have been approved for use on children. A minimum age of 16 years is required to be vaccinated with the treatments.

On Wednesday, California health officer Dr. Erica Pan said that inoculating the state’s 6.2 million residents who were 65 years or older would last about four to five months with how the vaccines are currently distributed. Despite state officials announcing that the age group was now eligible to receive the treatment, supply has had difficulties meeting the demand.

Pan noted that many skilled nursing facilities in the state which were part of a federal program that had CVS and Walgreens handle the inoculations are almost complete with their doses. The medical professional also anticipated that most other long-term care facilities could complete vaccinations by mid-February.

For the next few weeks, state officials expect to receive about 400,000 to 500,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine. However, they are hopeful that the rate would increase by 100,000 per week. “It’s a very small amount, at least for the next several weeks,” said Pan, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The federal government is in charge of distributing the coronavirus vaccine to different states, which are then responsible for allocating the doses to counties and health care providers.

Pickens said San Francisco’s public health department and private health care providers vaccinate an average of 3,000 individuals per day. He added that the city had to increase the number to at least 10,000 per day to meet the goal of finishing vaccinations by the end of June.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.