SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Less than two weeks after the FDA cleared COVID-19 booster shots for all adults, it’s starting to get more difficult to find an appointment.
Difficulty finding a vaccine appointment has been a storyline throughout the pandemic but this time it’s a little different.
“People have to be a little entrepreneurial in figuring out where they’re going to get their booster shot,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said.
KRON4 checked multiple sites and pharmacies, some don’t have any booster appointments for about two weeks, that’s if you’re a healthy adult without any pre-existing conditions.
A Safeway in San Francisco recommended by the MyTurn website currently has no appointments for December or January, for that group.
“We had a very specific, narrow population who was recommended for boosters and then very quickly it was all comers,” Desi Kotis said.
Chief Pharmacy Executive at UCSF Health Desi Kotis says when boosters for all adults were approved by the FDA on Nov, 19, they saw an influx of interest in appointments.
She says if you find an appointment, make it, even if it’s several weeks out.
“Don’t procrastinate or hesitate. Just book your vaccine,” Kotis said.
Some medical professionals also said many communities are working on opening new clinics now that more people are eligible for a booster but they need to find personnel.
“I think staffing is an issue. Obviously staffing for healthcare professionals is not easy to come by in any venue,” Kotis said.
UCSF Infectious Disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says many people are also seeking booster appointments because of upcoming holiday travel and the new variant.
“The sort of icing on the cake was really the fear of omicron,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.
He says you may not be able to get your booster at the same location you received your previous doses but there is likely an available appointment somewhere.
“I’ve heard some cities are easier to get a booster in than others, so maybe trying outside of your particular area,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.
Dr. Chin-Hong also emphasized that your initial dose or doses are still the most important.
“Rather than having FOMO about people getting boosters, really with those two doses you’re really well protected from the outcome I care most about–which is making you sick enough to go to the hospital or die,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.
Dr. Chin-Hong says so far the new variant has been very mild in people who have completed a vaccine series but don’t have a booster.
The pharmacist recommended trying to find a walk-in clinic if you don’t want to wait two or three weeks. Many have more limited hours but you could get lucky and get a booster the same day.
Dr. Chin-Hong also said if you’re traveling to an area of the country where fewer people are interested in boosters, it may be easier to get an appointment there.