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California aims to speed up vaccine delivery

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — California’s vaccination dashboard suggests the state has received just about 4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine — but less than half has been administered.

The California Department of Public Health believes the numbers are actually greater, pointing to a lag in reporting data, and also that a good chunk of this could be attributed to holding the second dose for the 21 or 28 days required.

“If that were an argument, why wouldn’t the problem be more unified across states?” Dr. Chin-Hong said. “Why are some states doing better, certainly everyone is trying to hold on to the second dose.”

UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin Hong says he’s mystified so few doses have come to California, but is hopeful that will increase. If it does, he says the process must be streamlined.

“The rules should be simple. You show up, you stick your arm out, you have 15 minutes of observation and that’s it. It should not be like going through an obstacle course on Survivor.”

The federal government and states have set up a priority list for vaccine distribution. However county public health departments and major providers get vaccine directly from the federal government and distribute as they see fit. That’s why in some areas, those 75+ are being vaccinated, and in other areas essential workers and those 65+ are being vaccinated.

“By the minimum I would expect more alignment of how things are done,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.

“Yes, vaccine is going out and yes certain groups are prioritized but we don’t know who is accountable for giving out vaccine to each population,” Dr. Kevin Schulman said.

Stanford’s Dr. Kevin Schulman agrees the process must be clear so those seeking the vaccine know where to go.

“I think we do need to come up with a list of people in a geographic area and assign responsibility,” Dr. Schulman said.

Medical experts say another way to reduce frustration is for federal government to be more transparent about how many doses states are getting. That will allow states to plan better over a period of time. 

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