SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — California, once hailed as a model for combating the COVID pandemic before the virus surge made it one of the worst states in terms of new cases and deaths, now ranks last in COVID vaccinations.
The Bloomberg COVID vaccine tracker shows California last in percentage of vaccines administered, with only 37% of the vaccines distributed being injected. While California has administered more than 1.6 million vaccines – the most of all states – it has received about 4.4 million doses, according to the tracker.READ MORE: Vandals Smear Chauvin Defense Witness' Former Santa Rosa Home With Pig's Blood
In comparison, other states with large populations such as New York and Texas, which rank 10th and 12th on the list, respectively, have administered more than 56% of vaccines delivered. The top jurisdictions in getting vaccines into arms are North Dakota (83% of shots used), District of Columbia (73%), West Virginia (73%), New Mexico (69%), and South Dakota (66%).
The state is now allowing for the vaccination of people 65 and older, but county officials and healthcare systems have indicated there are not enough doses to complete the vaccinations of frontline workers and other Phase 1A recipients. Some state health officials have said it could take until June just to vaccinate people 65 and older in California.
While other states have had a centralized system to distribute their vaccines, in California individual counties, healthcare systems, pharmacies and other distribution hubs have comprised a patchwork vaccination system. In addition, there have not been enough qualified people to administer the vaccine, prompting the state to begin credentialing others such as internists, dentists, and nursing students to help close the gap.
Earlier this week, state health officials paused the administration of the Moderna vaccine after a handful of people in San Diego County reported adverse reactions. The injections resumed two days later.
Word of California’s bottom-ranking on vaccines comes on the same day the state reported a one-day record of 764 COVID-19 deaths, according to data from the state Department of Public Health. The deaths reported Friday top the previous mark of 708 set on Jan. 8. In the last two days California has recorded 1,335 deaths.READ MORE: After a Night of Protest Vandalism, Oakland Businesses Pick Up the Pieces
The rate of new infections is falling in the state, while hospitalizations and newly confirmed cases have also dropped. This week, health officials said they were growing more optimistic that the worst of the latest surge is over.
The 23,024 new cases reported in California Friday are less than half the mid-December peak of nearly 54,000. Hospitalizations have fallen below 20,000, a drop of more than 10% in two weeks.
California was the first state to impose stay-at-home orders in March, and the restrictions enacted early in the pandemic were credited with helping the state avoid the surge of infections and deaths seen on other states such as New York and Florida.
But after reopening segments of the economy in June, California was forced to reimpose restrictions on businesses and the worsening surge led Governor Gavin Newsom to impose a new stay home order.
In addition, Newsom has faced intense criticism and protests over the state’s health orders and is now the subject of a recall drive. The criticism of the state’s approach intensified when Newsom attended a posh indoor birthday dinner at Napa Valley’s famed French Laundry, and a group of California lawmakers traveled to Hawaii for a conference on reopening state’s safely, despite a travel warning.MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
On Friday, the Associated Press reported Newsom’s administration is preventing public disclosure of key information that will help determine when his latest stay-at-home order is lifted.