MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — Although people 65 and older are now eligible to register to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, Contra Costa Health Services said Thursday the wait for county residents to get a vaccine appointment could be weeks.

In response to new expanded guidelines from the state, Contra Costa Health Services and other health care providers in the county are now offering no-cost COVID-19 vaccine to residents 65 or older.

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But Contra Costa officials stressed that someone in a higher-risk group — especially someone who is 75 or older — might receive an earlier appointment than will a younger person, even if the older resident requested a later appointment.

“Contra Costa Health Services is working hard with many partners, including other health providers in the county, to increase capacity so everyone can be vaccinated more quickly,” according to a statement released Thursday morning. “Contra Costa is coordinating with the state and building capacity to fill thousands of new requests.”

Appointments, county health officials said, are limited by available vaccine supply and other factors. The county receives shipments of vaccine every week. A new vaccination appointment call center, they said, is expected to be ready next week.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that residents 65 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Previously, residents 75 and older — along with health care personnel and residents and employees of long-term care homes — were eligible on the current tier schedule.

Work to accommodate this new 65-to-74 group comes as Contra Costa health officials are ramping up efforts to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to as many as 7,000 people a day, to get as many of the county’s approximately 900,000 eligible residents vaccinated over the next six months.

A vaccine appointment request form can be found here. For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and other information, go to cchealth.org/coronavirus.

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