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County Health Leaders Raise Red Flags About Lack Of Vaccine Doses After Access Expanded

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Critical staffing shortages and nowhere near enough doses. County health departments are raising red flags about the state's decision to expand vaccine access to anyone 65 years or older.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is promising a massive new system where people will get a text or email when they're eligible for the vaccine. But many worry seniors who are not tech-savvy will get left behind. Eager seniors said they are bracing for a slow start.

"I don't think they're there yet so it seems to be disorganized," said Kathy Gervais, a Roseville resident.

Ellen Hatcher, who also lives in Placer County, said "I get updates from Kaiser all the time. Now have they offered me an appointment yet? No, not yet."

County health departments said there are millions more seniors than doses available.

Calaveras County Public Health officials said so far they have received just 200 doses of the vaccine for 10,000 seniors. And "the unfortunate reality is that the state has not sent us sufficient supply to vaccinate our community members."

"I figure maybe in the next couple weeks, maybe it will open up to people like me," Hatcher said.

Gov. Newsom said Wednesday the CDC promised to release more doses to the states but gave no specific number. He set a goal for one million additional vaccines administered by the end of this week.

Meanwhile, issues with accessibility could leave some seniors exposed.

"My father is 77 with a heart condition and is unable to find a way to get the vaccine. And I at 53 have already gotten mine because I'm a construction worker at a hospital," Bryan Johnston said.

We're hearing many health providers are sending links where those eligible can sign up for an appointment. Cindy Bennett is a caretaker to her 82-year-old mother.

"Not a lot of them are internet savvy, some of them don't even like smartphones because they have flip phones still. What are they supposed to do," she said.

State officials said they're creating a way to sign up for appointments at community vaccination events. And when available, the public can go to their doctor or pharmacy to get vaccinated.

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