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California counties still with COVID-19 vaccine supply

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Posted at 6:59 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 21:59:43-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — This week U.S. President Joe Biden said there should be enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May.

That doesn't mean everyone will be vaccinated by then – just that there should be enough in the supply chain.

"I think the way to think of this is that the May deadline is when all the vaccines will be sort of purchased and spoken for," said Dr. Christian Ramers, Assistant Medical Director for Family Health Services of San Diego. "There's really still an implementation piece that's going to add some time on to that, and as we've seen, it's not so easy once you have all the vaccines to get them out into people's arms. There's a lot of implementation issues that have to happen, a lot of scheduling, and a lot of organization – and it doesn't happen all at once."

Ramers called the White Houses' announcement good news saying the quicker the population can be protected, the better. He added that the timeline is already quick for adding more eligible groups, but even more supply could make a larger impact on the general population.

"The timeline is already pretty fast," Ramers said. "There's been definitely pressure from the state to get into the more general population, and so age 16 to 64 with pre-existing conditions is coming really soon; it’s actually March 15. The goal is to open that wide up. That's going to create a huge pool of people."

How fast California counties move through phase 1B, 1C, the general population, and mass vaccination – that's a guessing game.

San Diego County officials say it's too soon to speculate. A spokesperson said they have the infrastructure in place to vaccinate but are waiting for vaccine supply.

San Luis Obispo County officials also say at this time it's tough to predict. A spokesperson for that county explained it will largely depend on vaccine supply, which remains very limited. "Next week, we aim to provide almost 13,000 doses of a vaccine at our (San Luis Obispo) County vaccine clinics. That will be the most doses we have provided since they opened in mid-December," a spokesperson said in a statement.

In the Central Valley, a spokesperson for Kern County said the timeline for general population vaccination would depend on when the county receives the necessary supplies.

When asked about where Kern County is in their system and when they might move to the next phase, a spokesperson wrote, "Currently, in accordance with February 17, 2021 direction from the State, Phase 1a – healthcare workers and Phase 1b – tier 1 – 65 and older, education and childcare workers, food and agriculture workers, and emergency services workers are eligible for vaccination in Kern County. Last week, Kern County, along with a handful of other counties, was included in the first wave of counties to be onboarded to the State's new third-party administrator, Blue Shield of California. Blue Shield is responsible for the creation, management, and oversight of a statewide network of vaccine providers.”

When asked about vaccine tier system timelines, a spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health responded, "The State will continue to determine who is eligible to receive vaccines. As we have previously announced, the State will add future groups by age."

While exact timeframes are hard to define, Dr. Ramers said when your time comes, get any vaccine you can.

"It really doesn't matter which one it is," he said. "The protection looks great for all three."