race for a vaccine

Are Bay Area Counties Ready to Vaccinate People 50 and Older? Depends on Supply

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As of midnight Thursday, everyone in California who is 50 and older are eligible to make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, but in many places in the Bay Area, those people may have to wait a bit longer to actually get in line.

In Santa Clara, San Francisco and Sonoma counties, county health officials and large providers like Stanford Health Care want people to remember that just because they're eligible doesn't mean there's enough supply for them to make an appointment right away.

As the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility criteria expanded Thursday, more people were expected to be logging on trying to secure an appointment. Retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Safeway are among the options. Cierra Johnson reports.

"Our eligibility will open up to anybody who fits over the 50," Stanford Health Care Chief Medical Officer Dr. Niraj Sehgal said. "Unfortunately, right now, we don’t actually have new additional first dose appointments to be able to offer. We’re still actually playing catch-up from appointments we were forced to postpone because of a lack of vaccine supply in the previous couple weeks."

Kaiser Permanente and San Mateo County also shared similar concerns with NBC Bay Area. A spokesperson for San Mateo County explained that the county's focus right now is on areas with the lowest vaccination rates and highest COVID-19 infections.

So, people who become eligible on Thursday probably won't get an appointment right away because the county is short on vaccine.

As of midnight Thursday, a big change, anyone 50 and older will now be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. But eligibility doesn’t lead to appointments. Jean Elle reports.

"I think a concern for everyone over 50 in the Bay Area right now is as you become eligible, the ability to get access to vaccines is a different issue," Sehgal said.

Meanwhile, Marin County opened up appointments to anyone 50 and older at noon Wednesday. Officials in Napa County said they'll make the same move some time this week.

Solano County has been vaccinating people 50 and up for a couple weeks. In Contra Costa County, shots for anyone 16 and older started Tuesday.

Alameda County didn't immediately respond to NBC Bay Area's request for information pertaining to its vaccine rollout plans.

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