MARIN COUNTY (KPIX 5) — While Johnson & Johnson’s new vaccine may provide more help on the horizon, on Friday there was another sign of the vaccine supply crunch in the Bay Area.
Marin County health officials are saying they will have to slow down the delivery of first vaccine doses next week due to shortages.
- ALSO READ: Bay Area COVID-19 Vaccine Resources Page
“I know that for next week — between MarinHealth, Kaiser San Rafael, Sutter Novato Community Hospital, and the county — we have approximately 2,000 doses total,” said Chief Medical Officer at MarinHealth Dr. Karin Shavelson.
The effort to get more people vaccinated in Marin is actually about to slow down. What the county calls a “lean week” of supply from the state will mean cutting back on first-dose injections from a peak of about 1,600 per day.
“It’s very difficult to schedule patients on the front line of all this when you have absolutely no idea how much vaccine you will get or when,” Shavelson explains.
The potential for an increase in COVID vaccine supply was the big national headline Friday. Data shows Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine provides 85% protection against severe cases.READ MORE: UPDATE: Atmospheric River Drenches Northern California With Historic Rainfall
While not as effective overall as the two vaccines currently in use, it is certainly good enough to help. But not immediately.
“It doesn’t change the metrics we’re facing right now in the United States,” said UCSF Epidemiologist George Rutherford.
Johnson & Johnson may not deliver large quantities of its vaccine until April or May, so the supply chain will remain squeezed at the top.
“I think that the new administration has made a commitment to letting states know three weeks in advance what the supply is going to look like,” said Rutherford. “That means the counties can know three weeks in advance what the supplies are going to look like.”
And that reality of a continuing supply crunch is filtering down to places like Marin County.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Streets Flood in San Rafael, Mill Valley as Wild Storm Lashes Bay Area
“So I just want to let the public know that we hear your frustration, and we understand,” said Shavelson. “We are not sitting on doses. I’m giving everything that I can, that I receive.”