By Maria Medina

SAN JOSE (KPIX) — Millions of Californians with pre-existing health conditions and disabilities are now qualified to get the COVID-19 vaccine as the state expands eligibility. However, many are finding that getting an appointment to get a dose isn’t easy in some parts of the state.

In Santa Clara County, a shortage in supply has forced the county to nearly halt the scheduling of first doses. Some residents have said even trying to find an appointment for a second dose has been challenging.

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Last week, the county canceled many first dose appointments in order to reserve its supply for second doses.

That included Kaiser patients whose appointments were canceled.

“I too got my second dose canceled by the county. I logged into my account and am only given an option to schedule my first dose,” wrote one San Jose resident on Nextdoor.com.

“This happened to a friend of ours — no appointments available in San Jose within the timeframe required so he has to go to San Francisco Kaiser,” another San Jose resident wrote.

The county has experienced a steep decline in doses it has received. According to the county’s web site, 1,090 doses were administered Sunday. On Friday, a total of 10,381 were administered. Nearly two weeks ago on March 3, the total amounted to 16,618 doses. The county has set a goal to reach herd immunity by this summer.

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“Some of my friends haven’t been able to get an appointment,” said Victor Liang. “I don’t understand what’s happened.”

The shortage comes as the state has received an increase in doses. Earlier this month, the state began reserving 40 percent of its supply for disadvantaged communities, and 10 percent to educators.

“The longer it takes to get people immunized the more variants we’re going to see, because the more transmission there’s going to be,” said University of California San Francisco Prof. George Rutherford.

He added that people should get their second dose as soon as they can if for some reason they can’t get it within the timeframe recommended. He also advises to stick with the same manufacturer people get for their first dose.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about not getting the second shot at exactly the right interval,” Rutherford said. “The president’s not making this stuff up when he says May 1 for everybody, Fourth of July done. He’s looking at numbers from off the production line, which I’m not privy to, so I think you have to follow his lead and say, ‘Yes, there’s some short term problems, yes, there’s short term inconveniences, but this is all going to catch up quickly.'”

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Those who are now eligible to get the vaccine are those 16-64 years old who are pregnant, have Type 2 Diabetes, heart conditions, kidney conditions, cancer and sickle cell anemia among others.