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California is running critically low on COVID-19 vaccines as people vie for shots

Colleen Shalby, Jaclyn Cosgrove, Melody Gutierrez, Jonathan Wosen and Karen Pearlman, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — As California increases COVID-19 vaccinations, supply issues are becoming a critical problem, and some counties say they are rapidly running out.

County officials say they have most of the resources — large vaccine centers and personnel to run them — but lack the doses they need.

“Our ability to protect even more L.A. County residents in the coming weeks and months is entirely dependent and constrained by the amount of vaccine we receive each week, and often, we do not know from one week to the next how many doses will be allocated to L.A. County,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news conference Wednesday.

Those 65 and over are vying for appointments and have endured long lines to get their shots. But officials warn that a shortage in supplies could delay how quickly the state is able to vaccinate older Californians before moving onto other groups not currently prioritized.


In San Francisco, officials warned that vaccine availability could run out as early as Thursday because the city’s allocation dropped significantly from a week ago and doses that had to be discarded were not replaced.


Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of public health, said at a news conference that the city received 12,000 doses a week ago and asked for the same number this week. Instead, the city received only 1,775 doses.

Los Angeles County needs more than 4 million doses to provide the two-dose vaccine protocol to all health care workers — an estimated 800,000 people — along with 1.3 million residents 65 and older, officials said.

But to date, the county has received only 853,650 doses. Once the 2.2 million residents on the current priority list are vaccinated, there are 8 million others left — each of whom would need two doses of the current vaccines.

Next week, the county will receive 143,900 doses, but 106,000 of those — more than 70% — are to be used as second doses for health care workers and others. That will leave only 37,900 shots for seniors and unvaccinated health care workers, according to estimates by officials.


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