Days before all Californians 50 and older become eligible for a coronavirus vaccine, the region’s supply of doses is steadily increasing.
Last week’s vaccine supply was up 23% from the previous week, according to county spokesman Mike Workman, who did not provide an exact number of doses. But based on previous numbers he shared with the San Diego Union-Tribune, it’s likely that around 110,000 doses have passed in the county.
That’s more than what county officials up 9% expected. And while it is unclear how much vaccine the region will receive this week, the county expects another increase.
“They all seem to be increasing,” Workman said in an email, referring to vaccines made by Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
This trend will need to continue to accommodate the estimated 590,000 San Diegans residents aged 50 to 64 who will become eligible for the vaccine on Thursday – although some of them may have already been eligible, depending on their jobs or backgrounds. medical history, among other factors. On April 15, all Californians 16 and older become eligible for a coronavirus vaccine.
Those 50 and over likely won’t be able to book an appointment through MyTurn (myturn.ca.gov), the state’s vaccine notification and scheduling system, until Thursday, according to the California Department of Public Health. . But they can already book appointments in vaccine superstations at La Mesa and Chula Vista, provided the appointment date is Thursday or later, according to a spokesperson for Sharp HealthCare, which operates the two sites. .
A spokesperson for Albertsons said Californians between the ages of 50 and 64 will have to wait until Thursday to make appointments at nearby locations. A representative from CVS said the same, adding that the drugstore chain would update its website no later than Saturday. Spokesmen for Ralphs and Walgreens did not say directly when they would open dates, but suggested they too would wait until Thursday.
The region’s supply problems are not quite a thing of the past. On Monday, Scripps Health announced that the vaccine superstation at Del Mar Fairgrounds will close Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday as the health system received fewer doses than expected from the county. The mass vaccination site, which vaccinates approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people per day, uses the Pfizer vaccine.
The researchers say accelerating the pace of vaccinations is essential to avoid a new wave of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The same goes for adhering to basic public health guidelines such as masking, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings indoors.
This formula has worked for San Diego County so far. The county reported 290 new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths on Monday. There are currently 198 San Diegans in hospital with COVID-19; a month ago that figure was 504.
“I am cautiously optimistic,” said Natasha Martin, an infectious disease modeler at UC San Diego. “Over the past few months, we have reduced transmission to an unprecedented level.”
But Martin is worried about what she is seeing in other parts of the country, where cases are starting to rise due to a combination of reopening and the rise of a rapidly spreading coronavirus variant spotted for first time in UK.
Last week, the United States reported 61,583 new cases of coronavirus per day, according to New York Times analysis. The previous week the figure was 54,949. That’s a 12% increase.
Hospitalization trends are lagging behind cases, but there is evidence of an increase there as well. The latest seven-day average of new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals across the United States was 4,693 from 4,642 the previous week, a 1% increase.
“I would encourage the people of San Diego to recognize that what is happening elsewhere could be happening here,” said Martin. “But things are moving in the right direction and I think this can be avoided if we maintain a high level of vigilance.”