coronavirus vaccine

Bay Area Seniors Hoping to Get COVID-19 Vaccine Feel ‘Discouraged' by Lack of Availability

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To much fanfare, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that California’s COVID-19 vaccines would now be open to those 65 and older. But some say that when they started trying to make an appointment, they got the runaround. 

“It means I’ll be able to see clients. When friends get vaccinated I’ll be able to see them,” said Barbara Tetzlaff of San Francisco.

The 85-year-old lawyer thought this would be the light at the end of a very long lockdown tunnel, but just a day later – after her doctor told her they weren’t vaccinating and she couldn’t find a mass vaccination site -- that light is now a flicker. 

“I just keep running into a stone wall,” she said. “I understand that there’s not a lot of information or a lot of vaccines right now, but there has to be a better way to do it.”

Other seniors say they’ve been directed to vaccine hotlines that lead to nowhere, websites crashing, or simply no information at all. 

In an interview, NBC News asked Governor Newsom how he’d ensure long lines and logistical nightmares don’t happen in California.

“You can’t ensure any of that. It's an unprecedented logistics operation,” said Newsom.

Or, according to the seniors, just another way to pass the buck. 

“I think perhaps they should have waited to make the announcement until they had the facilities in place,” said Tetzlaff. “It can be discouraging, but I try not to let it get me because I’m going to get a vaccine.” 

Sutter Health said several people who are 75 and older walked into a medical office on Van Ness and received COVID-19 vaccines. 

NBC Bay Area reached out to several other health care providers, and many say they will notify their patients when they’re eligible. 

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