COVID vaccine shortages, irregular distribution delays some COVID inoculations

Available vaccine supply is an ongoing problem across California. From the state's southern tip to up north, vaccine is in high demand but the doses are in short supply. 

Public health officials and hospitals said vaccine availability is still an ongoing obstacle amid mass vaccination efforts.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the shortage has forced some mass vaccination sites to tentatively close. 

"This is an enormous hurdle in our race to vaccinate Angelenos, and unfortunately means we will have to temporarily close Dodger Stadium and the other four non-mobile vaccinations sites for two days," said Garcetti.

Vaccine supply is also tight in Northern California. The San Francisco Department of Public Health said about two-thirds of vaccines go to medical institutions such as the University of California San Francisco(UCSF).
The hospital said it currently has enough vaccine to continue inoculating through next Wednesday. 

"We are carefully monitoring our vaccine supply to be able to last 6-7 days, to make sure we're able to fulfill the second doses that are due for health workers and patients," said UCSF's Public Affairs Director Kristen Bole. 

However, the health care provider said that means it's had to dial back at mass vaccination sites. 

"Our City College site, which we are operating in partnership with the City of San Francisco, is only offering half-day schedules (500 vaccines per day, but could easily offer 3,000 doses per day if we had sufficient vaccines," Bole said. 

SFDPH said it has enough vaccine to operate through next week, but they are feeling the squeeze. 

"Both our large vaccination including City College and Moscone have had to consider limiting their appointments based on vaccine supply," said Dr. Naveena Bobba, the city's deputy director of health. 

The difficulty comes with planning more than one week in advance and with unreliable supply chains, it's difficult to make and follow any long term plans. 

"There's different supply chains coming into the city, so not only is the SFDPH supply unreliable and unpredictable and changes week to week, but also our partner health agencies have those same issues," Bobba said.

The department of public health said they are waiting on Johnson & Johnson to receive emergency authorization for its vaccine which should help alleviate the bottleneck in two ways. First, by simply adding more vaccine doses to the mix. Second, being a one-shot vaccine, means health care workers don't have to hold a second dose in reserve as they do for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.