LIVERMORE, Calif. - California health officials say they have updated the state's COVID vaccination scheduling website to help handle any surge in demand for appointments as eligibility expands to everyone 16-years-old and up Thursday.
All vaccinations will be done with Pfizer or Moderna doses which require two shots spaced three or four weeks apart. No Johnson and Johnson single doses will be administered, as a scientific advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control met Wednesday and determined more research is needed to determine whether the six cases of rare blood clots after J & J vaccinations posed a wider danger.
Muhammad Moosa of Livermore and his wife Hamida Nusrat both got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine Monday. They say they're watching for symptoms.
"Minor headache, but other than that I was fine. So it went very well. No issues," said Moosa.
"It's not a huge concern for us at this point," said Nusrat, "Any vaccine can give rise to a number of side effects."
The couple noted that six cases out of more than 6 million vaccinations is a very small percentage.
The CDC says Pfizer and Moderna have not had any reports of clots and anyone receiving a vaccine must wait 15 minutes before leaving the vaccination site.
"If you're going to have a reaction, the likelihood is it happens in those 15 minutes and we actually are mandated to report to the federal government," said Kim McCall, a Contra Costa Health Services spokeswoman.
"We currently have 3,000 open appointments in the next seven days so you can get an appointment in Contra Costa County if you want one," said McCall.
Contra Costa County is among those that expanded eligibility earlier, but the county's supply is restricted to their own residents.
"You have to either live or work in the county to get an appointment here," said McCall.
For people who find no appointments available on their county's website, McCall says it's best to check with your health care provider or the State of California's mass vaccination sites, such as the Oakland Coliseum location.
"If you want to get an appointment there, the MyTurn page through the state is the way to get those appointments," said McCall.
The state announced Wednesday it's updated the MyTurn vaccine scheduling website, giving Californians access to scheduling for 200 providers and 1,500 clinics.
That has some people firing up their computers and bracing for an online bottleneck, concerned about competing for appointments.
Those who got their shots before say it's already a scramble.
Marvin Green of Benicia said he couldn't find an appointment nearby, and finally found a shot more than an hour's drive away in Auburn, after struggling online.
"Went online and had to keep refreshing the website to check availability," said Green.
Solano County opened eligibility for residents 16-years-old and over Wednesday.
Limited appointment availability, however, has had some people driving to other counties.
"I got my vaccine at Waterworld in Concord," said Rory Livesay, a Solano County resident from Benicia, "It was super easy. My mom drove me. It was a drive-through vaccine."
Health officials say minors who want the vaccine should come with a parent or guardian.
State health officials say the MyTurn.ca.gov website has information in 14 languages.
HERE ARE ALL THE WEB SITES TO FIND VACCINATION APPOINTMENTS:
Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU. Email Jana at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.