California health official says state is on track for vaccination by June

A top California health official said Wednesday that it may take four to five months to complete the COVID-19 vaccination for those 65 and older, although it is expected that the time would be better under the Biden administration.

Dr. Erica Pan said the projection is based on the state’s population, with about 6.2 million people 65 and older. The target goal is to immunize 70% or 4.34 million seniors of those with two doses.

With the current allocation from the federal government, the state is receiving about 400,000 doses a week, or 500,000 in a good week. At this rate, it may take up to June to inject shots into Seniors’ arms.

Pan said that we do not know when the supply will increase, but during the meeting of the State Vaccine Advisory Committee, Pan said what we are getting. “I know we’re guessing anywhere from 20 to 22 weeks to really get through the age of 65 … We all collectively need to get as many weapons vaccinated as possible the wanted.”

Pan said senior vaccinations are important because they are disproportionately affected by the virus; Ages over 61 and 65% of all intensive care units and 83% of all deaths.

As California struggles to meet the challenge of vaccinating all those people, officials are setting their hopes on President Joe Biden’s promise to ramp up resources for vaccination. It is expected that the rate of vaccination will increase in the state.

“Under a Biden administration, our country has a fighting chance to defeat this virus,” California State Sen. Scott Weiner said Wednesday.

Dr. George Rutherford, professor of epidemiology at UCSF and head of the division of infectious diseases and global epidemiology, hopes to improve vaccine rollout in the coming weeks under the new administration. “I doubt that things will move fast here soon,” Rutherford said.

One recent hurdle in the rollout was a halt to the injection of a batch of modern vaccine after some people fell ill.

California said Wednesday that it is safe to resume using the vaccine, freeing up more than 300,000 doses to counties, cities and hospitals struggling to get supplies.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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