I find it frustrating that, when it comes to covering COVID-19 issues, the media and the community has largely remained gloomy. For example, this is an article headline
The steep dive in the Bay Area's coronavirus numbers has stopped. How worried should we be?
Thank you for keeping us feel worried.
California has announced they will remove vaccination eligibility requirements and open it up to all adults by April 16th. This is followed by the announcement of individual counties of advanced schedule to first open it up to 50s and above by April 1st. Contra Costa County race ahead to open to all by April 1st. The general availability of vaccines should be greeted as a victory. Yet the press keeps on publishing quotes that pour cold water on the good news
“Except we don’t have the vaccine,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County’s vaccine officer.
Certainly they have vaccines. What it means is it can take several weeks to vaccinate everyone eligible. No problem. A reservation system is set up to manage the demand for this reason. I don’t think anyone demands to get vaccinated on day 1. A reservation system is expected and welcome. People are used to make reservations for routine diagnostics tests. To wait a week or two is entirely acceptable. All these gloomy predictions of vaccination sites overrun by a stampede of people is unwarranted and unnecessary discouraging.
Let’s say the demand of the 50-64 group is so high that appointments have stretched out to three weeks. This means there will be no opening by April 16th for general availability. Given this proven demand, the authority should adjust the schedule and push it out a week or two. Again, this is informed policy adjustment. It is not a reason for gloomy predictions. In fact, I find this encouraging if people treat vaccination with such high priority.
The fact is, the outlook of vaccine availability is very positive. This is the fundamental basis of opening up vaccination to everyone by April 16th. From January to March, San Francisco has already vaccinated 44% of adults. Out of the first three months, January was very slow. The supply was only picked up in March. If we can do so much in the first three months, the coming glut of supply is only going to accelerate this. I will even make another prediction. After May, anyone (in San Francisco) who wants a vaccine can get a vaccine. There will be no line anymore.
Running out of vaccines is not a concern at all. You will quickly find out from the experience of the accelerated schedule of Contra Costa county. The true worry is a substantial number of people either refuse it or treat it as a low priority. Instead of limiting people from getting vaccines, the priority of the health department will quickly shift to persuading these people to get vaccinated. Supply is the least of their concern.