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COVID: Bay Area Vaccine Rollout Picks Up Speed, May Even Exceed Projections

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) - After a rocky start, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is starting to pick up the pace and there may be a dramatic shift in a matter of weeks.

When the vaccine rollout was just beginning in early and mid-January, experts were predicting at long timeline to widespread vaccinations. They thought logistics might be in place in a couple of months, and vaccine deliveries ramped up by summer time. That schedule may have been too conservative.

"We are so pleased," said Sandra Hsu after getting vaccinated in San Francisco. "We signed up during the Super Bowl on Sunday. Just two days ago!"

The vaccine push continues from Moscone Center, to the Valley Bible Church parking lot in Hercules.

"We are starting to get a cookie-cutter pattern, where we can move it from site to site, make it site-specific," said Battalion Chief Victor Bontempo of Richmond Fire.

Practice makes perfect, and it's on display in more and more places. In fact, California's ability to deliver vaccine has been put together several weeks faster than a lot of experts thought possible.

"All of this is really good news," says Dr. John Swartzberg of UC Berkeley. "We're working on the logistics piece of it, and we're starting to see the fruits of that."

The other half of the challenge is supply, and there are signs that situation will improve soon, as well. Pfizer and Moderna are both increasing their production estimates. The Biden administration is increasing deliveries to the states starting next week. And then the Johnson and Johnson vaccine could be approved, and in use, as soon as the first week in March.

"On shots, no stability problems compared to the other two," Swartzberg says. "All of this is really positive."

So it looks increasingly likely that the supply side of the equation will change dramatically in March. At that point, dramatic changes in who is eligible for the vaccine will not be far behind.

"We are potentially at a place where by April we won't have to have any categories," Swartzberg says. "We'll just say, 'if you are over the age of 16 go get vaccinated.'"

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