California health officials expect less COVID-19 vaccines in coming weeks

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Across the state, health departments are being warned they should expect less dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks.

This is largely because of a mix up at a Johnson & Johnson factory destroying 15 million doses.

On April 15th, all adult Californians will be able to log on to myturn.ca.gov and see they’re eligible but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to find an appointment.

“We’ve actually been told by the state to expect one-third less vaccine over the next two to three weeks,” Bela Matyas said.

Solano County Health Officer Bela Matyas says if you’ve had the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna, you’ll still be able to get your second on time.  

The decrease is in the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“Over the next 2 to 3 weeks to have anywhere from 5 thousand to 75-hundred fewer doses means a lot fewer people vaccinated at first dose clinics,” Matyas said.

Matyas says they’ve been anticipating this.

“We knew it was coming. In the national news, we heard that Johnson and Johnson had to discard 15-million doses based on a sub-contractor error so there was no way that wouldn’t filter to us,” Matyas said.

He says he’s seen people more interested in the J&J vaccine.

“For some people, it’s because they don’t like shots and they’d rather just get the one. Others just feel like it’s a product they’re more comfortable with because it’s a more standard way of developing a vaccine,” Matyas said.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF, says while it’s frustrating for people waiting for a vaccine, it’s just temporary.

“It’s going to be a bump in the road but not a drop off the cliff,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said.

He says the good news is many of the most at-risk populations have already been vaccinated, reducing strain on the hospital system.

“It’s important for people to know that overall we’re not going to get a huge surge or run on hospital beds anymore,” Chin-Hong said.

Both agree that eventually everyone who wants a vaccine will get one.

“Our goal is to vaccinate everyone that wants to be vaccinated and our goal is to stay the course until we’ve had the opportunity to do that,” Matyas said.

They are asking people to be patient and say more drug companies are constantly working on creating more vaccines.

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