County says the capacity to administer more COVID-19 shots is there, but not the supply

san diego downtown vaccine super station
Posted at 4:31 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 20:23:50-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — County officials said Wednesday that they are capable of administering more COVID-19 vaccines, but lack the supply to vaccinate more residents.

County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said the county's 19 vaccination sites have the capacity to vaccinate 20,000 people per day, but due to supply, is only servicing about 10,000 people daily. He said he expects the county's capacity to administer doses will increase next week to 30,000 people daily, but supplies will likely hinder the county from reaching that threshold.

Because the county has the bandwidth but lacks the supply, officials are only offering appointments consistent with the number of vaccine doses available.

"Efforts have far outpaced the supply of vaccines," Fletcher said. "Because of this, we only make appointments available for vaccines we have or are confident are coming. We don't want to cancel an appointment."

San Diego County has established eight county pods, four super sites, four partner sites, and five rural sites to administer vaccines. This doesn't include healthcare providers or retail pharmacies where those eligible may have been able to get a shot.

According to the state, San Diego County is only behind Los Angeles County in vaccine doses administered. The county's vaccine dashboard says 357,507 doses have been administered out of 586,325 vaccines shipped, as of Tuesday. Of those doses:

  • 298,958 have been first doses
  • 58,549 have been second doses
  • 10.2% of county residents vaccinated
  • 2% of county residents fully vaccinated

California's vaccine dashboard pins San Diego County closer to 380,000 doses administered, something Fletcher said the county is working on to accurately reflect since reporting is likely "significantly delayed."

Supervisor Nora Vargas said the county will continue to advocate for more vaccines from the state.

"We are working on ensuring there are more vaccine supply in our sights as we continue advocating the state and federal government for this," Vargas said. "At the same time, we're going to continue to strengthen our infrastructure, from improving our appointment system, expanding our 211 capacity, exploring ways of keeping communities informed about vaccination appointments, as well as the importance of getting vaccinated when it's your turn."

Appointments at county-run sites can be made online here. Currently, the state has cleared Phase 1A (healthcare workers and congregate care residents) and the first tier of Phase 1B (those 65 and older, and education and childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture workers) to receive the vaccine.

Wednesday, the county reported its second-straight day of less than 1,000 new cases, with 968 new COVID-19 cases. The county also reported 54 new deaths due to the virus. There were 1,265 people hospitalized with the virus, and of those hospitalized, 369 are in intensive care units.

"This should motivate us to really double-down on what we are doing and continue those efforts so that we can continue this downward trajectory," said Fletcher. "But the combination of being on the leading edge of number of vaccines administered and the decline in cases should give us a sense of hope that things right now are heading in the right direction. But a hope that motivates us to do more, not less."