Santa Clara County Residents Frustrated With Vaccine Supply Shortage

Frustration is growing among the disabled who became eligible on March 15 for the COVID-19 vaccine and can’t find an open appointment in Santa Clara County.

They are still not giving new appointments and in several other parts of the Bay Area, it’s leading to anxiety, anger, and frustration for many.

It’s almost impossible to find a picture where Julie Savage is not smiling even though the Sunnyvale mom suffers from Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2I, which steals most of her muscles’ abilities.

“Iit affects your respiratory function, your heart, because those are impacted by muscles,” said Savage. 

The 39-year-old says she was excited when the disabled community was added to the list of those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

But all Savage was getting when trying to book an appointment was a “no new appointments are available” notice. 

“It feels very frustrating, it feels kinda helpless,” Savage said. “I was searching down in Fresno, SoCal, for open appointments, and to Sacramento, trying to figure out how far a radius I could drive and feel ok coming back.”

Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said 30% of Santa Clara County has now had at least one dose and an increase in doses is expected in the coming weeks.

“It’s still a scarcity issue,” he said.

But the current supply crisis means they are only able to offer appointments for second doses right now.

In an email, the state COVID task force said Santa Clara County got nearly a 50% increase in first doses last week. 

“I don’t think they are aware of all of the county needs, especially for the second dose vaccine,” Fenstersheib said.

Some counties are adding new categories of those eligible for the vaccine, including IT and communications professionals.

But eligibility without appointments just means more people trying to get the already limited slots.

For Savage, persistence finally paid off – she managed to book an appointment for Friday at Rite-Aid. But that’s because retail pharmacies receive their supply directly from the feds, and not the counties.

And that means, for the moment, all anyone can offer is advice to be persistent.

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