race for a vaccine

Is It Getting Easier to Book COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments?

NBC Universal, Inc.

More than 2 million COVID-19 vaccines are supposed to be arriving in California this week. The question now is whether that number is high enough that counties can finally start opening up more appointments.

For weeks, people have said they've scoured all of the vaccination search engines, from the state's MyTurn site to local county pages and pharmacies, in hopes of finding an appointment

"I’ve been trying since they said we have vaccines available and I haven’t been able to get anything," Ed Brumbaugh, 66, of San Jose said.

Jackie Durant, a Berryessa teacher also over 60, said she hasn't even devoted much time to searching because so many of her colleagues have failed to schedule a shot.

"Some of them got the first one, some of them haven’t been able to and now some are working on the second one," she said.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney is among those trying to help connect people with appointments. On Monday, he tweeted that he'd spotted a lot of slots available at the Oakland Coliseum for Monday and Tuesday.

That's the type of story Marina Ramos of Santa Clara said she's been hearing more and more recently.

Customers at the mobile face mask truck she has operated since late last year are telling her they're finding appointments and urging her to schedule one.

"People are telling me, 'You should get it, you should get it,'" she said.

Ramos said she now hopes to schedule an appointment at her neighborhood Walgreens.

NBC Bay Area put her Walgreens vaccine search to the test using a random Bay Area ZIP code from San Mateo. NBC Bay Area found dozens of available appointments at Walgreens pharmacies within 10 miles of that ZIP code – one as early as Tuesday afternoon. There wasn't any success through the MyTurn website or any Bay Area CVS pharmacies, but NBC Bay Area found CVS appointments outside the Bay Area and at Costco and some county websites.

It wasn't a scientific test, but it appears if people are willing to keep checking websites or travel up to 50 miles, the ability to find and schedule a vaccination has improved some.

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