Bay Area Residents Confused by Vaccine Eligibility Expansion

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In less than three days, the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to everybody in the state who’s 16 and older, and as expected, there is some confusion.

In Santa Clara County, the vaccine appointment system is under fire, and San Francisco is a great place to get a vaccine, unless you actually live there.

“It just makes no sense,” said San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney about the vaccine rollout.

There’s no shortage right now, but the San Francisco Public Health Department will only administer vaccines to county residents 50 and older or those with health problems. 

So now, residents of other Bay Area counties where those 16 and older are eligible, are coming to town and rolling up their sleeves.

Counties across California and the Bay Area have different rules and eligibility for residents looking for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. As April 15 approaches, the date when the state said vaccinations would become available for residents 16 and older, it's getting more complicated and confusing to get an appointment. Robert Handa reports.

“It’s currently available to people from Contra Costa and San Mateo and Alameda and I’m happy for them but if you say you live and work in San Francisco it says you’re not eligible and that just makes no sense,” said Haney. “If you live in San Francisco and check that you work in Alameda you can get an appointment at Moscone. If you check that you work in the city you can’t.”

The San Francisco COVID Command Center said it has been “prioritizing communities that have been most adversely impacted by COVID … and expanded eligibility to those 16+ in certain ZIP Codes.” But, “the states scheduling system has not been able to set restrictions by ZIP Code.” So, members of the newly-eligible group may have to wait for Thursday to book an appointment.

In Santa Clara County there’s a different problem. Last week, the public health website was supposed to allow people to make appointments for later this week when the eligibility expands but a lot of people said it didn’t work. Late Monday afternoon, the agency said it added information to help those 16 and older make appointments.

But not everyone in the Bay Area in that new eligibility group is anxious to do so.

“I’m not gonna get it right when it comes out, maybe wait a little while and see what happens to the rest, then maybe do some research,” said Alyson Ruiz.

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