Three weeks after doses of the coronavirus vaccine began arriving in California, only 35% of them have ended up in people’s arms — raising questions about the effectiveness of the state’s vaccination strategy at a critical phase in the pandemic.
California has administered around 454,000 doses of the 1.3 million it’s received, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Monday press conference. When asked where the remaining doses are, his response was vague: “They’re all across the state. They’ve been distributed to counties, have been distributed to providers, distributed throughout the system.”
But why they haven’t been administered to Californians — despite widespread jostling for vaccination priority and the appearance of a new, potentially more contagious strain of the virus — is unclear. Newsom acknowledged there is “anecdotal evidence” that health care workers are turning down the vaccine, but emphasized there “are plenty of people that want to take that shot.” The governor added that he plans to ask state lawmakers in his 2021-22 budget proposal — which will be unveiled Friday — to approve $300 million for vaccine distribution.
- Newsom: “It’s like a flywheel. The first 10, 15 days we’re going to slowly start building pace and start building up and you’re going to start seeing more rapid distribution of this vaccine, I can assure you that.”
To help accelerate distribution, California will now allow dentists with proper training to administer the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. State officials also are working to enlist pharmacy technicians and National Guard members to immunize Californians, CalMatters’ Barbara Feder Ostrov reports.
Meanwhile, other wrinkles have appeared in the state’s vaccination strategy. The hard-hit state prison system recently began vaccinating inmates — but not those at the 25 facilities with the highest number of coronavirus infections, the New York Times found.
Newsom pledged Monday to provide in the next few days “much more prescriptive detail” on “new strategies to deal with some of the roadblocks” in California’s vaccine rollout.
The coronavirus bottom line: As of Monday, California had 2,420,894 confirmed cases (+1.2% from previous day) and 26,635 deaths (+0.4% from previous day), according to a CalMatters tracker.
Also: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline tracking the state’s daily actions. And we’re tracking the state’s coronavirus hospitalizations by county.