California To Make Vaccines Available To Everybody In 5 1/2 Weeks, Anticipates Newsom

gavin newsom
CA Governor Gavin Newsom via Periscope

“We’re anticipating within five-and-a-half weeks where we can eliminate all of the tiering,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday, “and make available vaccines to everybody across the spectrum because supply will exponentially increase.”

That was in response to a question about counties “taking away” appointments from those eligible for Coronavirus vaccines due to a lack of supplies. It’s a familiar refrain across the state in recent weeks as local demand has outstripped vaccine supplies or counties have not received the number of doses promised by the state.

In fact, while President Joe Biden promised on his second day in office that county officials would have a three-week window into vaccine allotments so they could effectively schedule appointments on Friday, Los Angeles County’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Paul Simon said his region was still working with “week-to-week” estimates from the state.

But Newsom has repeatedly rattled off the state’s expected allotments for the coming weeks, which assumedly means that the bottleneck is at the state level. Newsom promised counties would have the projections on March 1, then on March 15 and, most recently on April 1. If supply increases as Newsom expects it to, however, such projections would be rendered moot.

“In a few weeks these issues will substantively be addressed,” said the Governor on Friday, before acknowledging that, “Everywhere in this state people are demanding more vaccines and our only constraint is supply.”

A timetable of five-and-a-half weeks would put California just ahead of President Joe Biden’s announcement last week that he will push for all American adults to be eligible for a vaccine by May 1. Of course, having the nation’s most populous state in that category would go a long way toward making good on that pledge.

Responding to a question about Newsom’s announcement, L.A.’s Simon agreed that his county could probably throw open the floodgates of eligibility. “If we get 1 million doses a week, we are in pretty good shape to make everyone eligible,” said Simon. “Especially if we get Johnson & Johnson [which takes just one shot, instead of two]. We’re doing 350,000 a week now. By May 1 we will be pretty far along,” he observed.

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