SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Health officials have begun to aggressively roll out COVID-19 vaccinations to California residents, but there currently is not enough vaccine available for all 40 million Californians to receive an inoculation at once.

So officials have come up with a multi-tiered eligibility process. Currently, the state is in the first stage of distribution. Some counties may adjust their tiers to match their most pressing needs.

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The state vaccination website can be found at: https://www.calvax.org/. Additionally, the state has set up the MyTurn.CA.gov website that is being used for a pilot vaccination rollout program in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. The site will soon be available for use across California.

Sign up in your county to be alerted when you can receive a vaccination:

Major Healthcare Systems: 

Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, Costco

Rite Aid announced near the end of February that its booking more vaccination appointments at multiple locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Mateo, Redwood City, San Jose and Santa Clara. Customers can sign up on the Rite Aid website: riteaid.com/pharmacy/covid-qualifier. Those who use Rite Aid’s service are automatically signed up for a second dose.

Starting on Friday, February 12, the COVID-19 vaccine will be available at 100 CVS Pharmacy locations across California for those who are eligible. Patients must register in advance at CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app. The website provides a full listing of cities where the vaccine is available.

People without online access can contact CVS customer service: (800) 746-7287. Walk-in vaccinations without an appointment will not be provided.

Select Walgreens stores in Contra Costa County also plan to begin vaccinations starting Friday, Feb. 12. Appointments are required and can be made on the Walgreens website.

Costco has announced it will begin offering a limited number of appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations at its pharmacies in four California counties — Marin, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernandino. Currently, the only Bay Area location is at the Novato Costco. . Costco officials said the appointments can only be made online. They added that the chain was offering a limited number of COVID-19 vaccines, typically Moderna. “Please do not contact the local Costco pharmacy as they are unable to schedule an appointment or provide current eligibility requirements,” Costco said on its website. “Check back frequently for updates about COVID-19 vaccine availability.”

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California State Vaccination Tiers:

Tier 1A

  • Healthcare workers
  • Long-term care residents

1B Tier One

  • Individuals 75 and older
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors — education (teachers), childcare, emergency services, food and agriculture

Vaccinating those at higher risk
Beginning March 15, healthcare providers may use their clinical judgement to vaccinate individuals aged 16-64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk to get very sick from COVID-19 because they have the following severe health conditions:

  • Cancer, current with weakened immune system
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension)
    Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%

OR
If as a result of a developmental or other severe high-risk disability one or more of the following applies:

  • The individual is likely to develop severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection
  • Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival
  • Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability.

Vaccine Scams

Federal officials are warning San Francisco Bay Area residents Thursday of 6 scams circulating throughout California and the country taking advantage of the growing frenzy over COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

Here are the 6 scams:

    • SCAM: You’re asked to pay for your vaccine
      You won’t have to pay to receive the Covid-19 vaccine when it’s your turn. If you’re asked to pay or provide private information, that’s not legit.You should only receive a COVID-19 vaccine at authorized vaccination sites such as hospitals, pharmacies or mass vaccination hubs such as sports arenas. If you’re not sure where to find your local vaccination site, you can look them up by state through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.It’s possible your vaccine provider will charge you an “administration fee” for giving you the shot. You can be reimbursed for this fee through your insurance or, if you’re not insured, through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund, per the CDC. If you can’t afford the fee, though, you won’t be turned away.
    • SCAM: You’re offered early access for a fee
      If you receive an offer to get your Covid-19 vaccine early for a fee, ignore it. No health department or vaccination site would vaccinate someone ahead of schedule if they paid for it.The FBI warned of this scam in December 2020, and reports from the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker show that unknown scammers have sent unsolicited texts to random users, offering them access to the vaccine regardless of where in the vaccination schedule they fall.
    • SCAM: You’re told to pay to put your name on a waiting list
      As mentioned above, your local health department or vaccination site will not reach out to you and ask for payment to be put on a waiting list. Some vaccination sites in New York, Houston and Miami have created waiting lists — mostly for seniors who are eligible to receive their vaccines now but haven’t been able to get an appointment — but those vary by location.Some have had better luck showing up at vaccination sites toward the end of the day in search of leftover vaccines. But if sites do have extra vaccines that must be used within a few hours, you won’t be asked to pay for them.
    • SCAM: You’re asked to schedule appointments through unverified platforms
      Unless you’re certain your local health department is scheduling vaccine appointments on Eventbrite or similar platforms, you should avoid registering through sites unaffiliated with your health department or pharmacy.Some counties are using Eventbrite to schedule vaccine appointments, but the ambiguity has made it easier for scammers to cash in. In one Florida county where health officials did not use Eventbrite, scammers made fake accounts and charged applicants to make vaccine appointments in the county anyway.It’s best to schedule an appointment through your health department or local pharmacy.
    • SCAM: You’re told to pay to have the vaccine shipped to you
      Vaccine distributors are not shipping doses of the vaccine to individuals, and you shouldn’t administer the vaccine to yourself. You should only receive a vaccine at authorized vaccination sites, which you can find through your state health department or the CDC.
    • SCAM: You’re made to take additional tests before you get a vaccine
      You won’t be made to take an antibody test or COVID-19 test before you receive your vaccine, so if you get texts, calls or emails that claim you should buy a test before you go, that’s a scam. As reported by CNET and AARP, you don’t need to undergo any additional medical tests before or during your vaccine appointment.

How to avoid getting scammed
Staying vigilant and informed is the best way to prevent scammers from accessing your money or private information.

It’s best to reach out to your health care provider directly to get the facts, rather than solely interact with an unknown person through email or text. It’s unlikely that a legitimate source would ask you to pay for a vaccine or visit a glitchy link.

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If an unknown source asks for your Social Security number, bank account information or insurance ID, don’t give it to them unless you’ve verified their identity with an official source, such as your health department or health care provider.