SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Trying to get an appointment for a COVID booster shot before the holidays is getting harder, according to many people in the Bay Area.
Susie Gallups says she tried a number of walk-in sites but didn’t have any luck. “I’m scared. People are coming back from Thanksgiving, also the new variant and I just didn’t want to take any chances,” she said.
Gallups said she looked online for an appointment first but quickly got frustrated.
“It’s been hard to be able to get it. I couldn’t schedule an appointment. It was three weeks down the road!”
Some vaccination sites are seeing an increased demand as concern grows around the new Omicron variant, especially since the first U.S. case was recently reported in San Francisco.
“I’ve been getting multiple calls per day, even more so in the past few days, especially when the news came out,” said Jessica Ly, the head pharmacist and owner of Qd Pharmacy.
She says Qd is still offering COVID boosters without an appointment Monday through Friday.
Across the bay in San Mateo County, the health department’s drive-in site saw so many people trying to get a booster, they announced Wednesday they aren’t accepting walk-ins anymore. It’s appointment only.
A quick online search showed most Walgreen locations don’t have available appointments until Dec. 17.
As of Thursday night, there are no booster appointments available at any East Bay Costco pharmacies.
Many Safeway locations are now booking out into January of next year.
Public health experts say that, while Omicron might be the reason people are rushing to get a booster now, people should be more concerned about the Delta variant.
UC Berkeley professor of public health, Dr. John Swartzberg, said the Delta variant is the one that’s more widespread throughout the Bay Area and the rest of the country. This holiday season it’s more likely for people to be exposed to Delta than Omicron.
“Going into the holidays, we know that the vaccines work quite well in terms of preventing hospitalization and death against Delta and that’s the gorilla in the room. That’s what’s here, so protect yourself against it,” Dr. Swartzberg advised.