Group helps San Diegans find shots as vaccine eligibility expands


SAN DIEGO — Beginning April 15, California opens COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older. The big question: can supply meet demand?

The governor says a system is in place to double the current capacity. That will be necessary, with demand expected to surge next week. Previously, when the state has opened vaccine access to a larger tier of Californians, appointments have been difficult to find.

“I feel bad when some of these local sites have to close down because we don’t have the supply. The numbers we’re running (are) about a third of capacity. That’s unfortunate, because we can staff it. It’s a matter of meeting demand with supply,” said Lena Evans, creator of the Facebook group San Diego Vaccine Hunters – which has more than 7,000 members helping people around the county make appointments and get vaccinated.

“Only constraint is manufacture and supply. I want to remind everybody we are designing a system that can provide upwards of 5.8 million vaccines to be administered on a weekly basis. Currently, we are receiving about 2.5 million,” Newsom said earlier this week.

San Diego County public health officials reported 300 new COVID-19 infections and four deaths Thursday, increasing the region’s cumulative totals to 272,494 cases and 3,592 deaths. Of the 16,596 tests reported Thursday, 2% returned positive. The 14-day running average as tallied by the county is 2.3%.

Three women and one man died between March 16 and April 7. Of the people who died, three were in their 70s and one was in their 50s. Three had underlying medical conditions while the other did not.

More than 2.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered to San Diego County, according to the San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency, and 1,097,317 county residents — or 40.8% — have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccines.

A total of 642,123 people in San Diego County — or 23.9% — are fully vaccinated.

These numbers include both county residents and those who work in San Diego County. The state’s goal is to vaccinate 75% of people 16 and older to achieve herd immunity — around 2.02 million San Diego County residents.

While Newsom is optimistic supplies will come in, Evans says she’s optimistic too, but would like to see the state and county do more to help people make appointments.

“The main frustration is the lack of ease the county and state have created in these sites. We’d like to help find ways to create something easier for members to be able to navigate,” Evans said.

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