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In-Depth: Limited COVID-19 vaccine supply frustrating San Diegans trying to book appointment

Posted at 5:57 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 20:57:37-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Many people across San Diego County have made multiple attempts to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, with no luck.

“I’ve tried every day, off and on throughout the day,” said Claire Jackson, 74, who lives in University Heights. “I’ve tried early in the morning; I’ve tried at midnight.”

Judie Erickson, 78, lives in Fallbrook and has also been trying to book an appointment for weeks.

“If I got up in the middle of the night for any reason, I would try,” said Erickson. “The very day that the Oceanside site opened up, I was on the phone and online, could not get an appoint.”

Erickson and Jackson are not alone. ABC 10News received several emails from viewers experiencing similar problems.

The county launched the website People are then given the option to click on where they live in the county on a map.

Then the closest vaccination sites pop up, and you’re redirected depending on the location.

“You have two sites, Petco Park and Chula Vista, that have their own reservation systems because we wanted to start them early,” said Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Then you have MyTurn, which encapsulates all of the other ten or so vaccination sites, we are going to migrate them all into the same system.”

After filling in your information, if you’re currently eligible to be vaccinated, you select an appointment time and date.

Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

“The worst thing for me is sitting with my iPad for three hours and trying to get on. Because by the time I’m off, I’m crying,” said Erickson.

So why aren’t people finding available appointments if new PODs are popping up and there are three super stations from the South Bay to the North County?

“We don’t have enough vaccines; it’s just that simple,” said Fletcher.

Fletcher said this is currently a supply and demand problem.

If you’re not finding available appointments, he said there are not enough doses.

“We have more than a million San Diegans trying to get appointments when we only have a handful of vaccines,” he said. “I’m frustrated there’s not more vaccines available, and I know the public is.”

Fletcher said the county doesn’t know in advance when it’ll be getting a shipment of vaccines or how many vials there will be.

The vaccination sites are set up to be ready to go when more vaccines do come in, but right now, it’s a waiting game.

“There is a fair probability that we could run out of vaccines this week and have to pause everything that we’re doing,” said Fletcher. “But what’s worse is to get a huge influx and not be able to get them into people’s arms.”

If the county does have to pause operations, Fletcher said those waiting to get a second dose will still be scheduled, but first dose appointments will be put on hold.

Still, he urges people to continue trying, as more vaccines could become available any day of the week.

Hitting refresh over and over again with no luck is causing some to lose hope.

“I have given up,” said Erickson. “I’m not angry with anybody; I just wish somebody would come up with a better way to handle it.”