Pity 50-something Coastsiders. They are old enough to qualify for a coronavirus vaccine, but they might not live long enough to actually find one.
In truth, it just feels like you are more likely to find a tiny hidden Easter egg in El Granada than a dose of Moderna in Montara or anywhere else on the Peninsula for that matter. And it feels like the clock is ticking. While there were months for people 65 and older to make an appointment for a shot, there are just two weeks for the 5,388,161 Californians between the ages of 50 and 65 to catch up before the state allows all adults to clamor for the same limited supply of vaccines.
If you have been refreshing your browser on the many apps and websites promising access to a vaccine, only to find they are not taking appointments, you are not alone. That is because there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand. Still. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently said the state is receiving about 1.8 million doses a week, clearly not enough to inoculate the nearly 5.4 million residents suddenly eligible, let alone older stragglers, essential workers or younger folks who just can’t wait their turn. Newsom expects the supply to nearly double by late April, but by then there will be millions more people eligible.
Across the nation, other states have already made all adults theoretically eligible for shots, thus pinching the supply chain further. That is in keeping with the wishes of President Joe Biden, who wants all American adults eligible for a shot by May 1.
Here in California, policymakers have tweaked the rollout to favor poorer areas that need the vaccine the most because more residents have underlying health conditions, more workers are toiling in jobs that put them at risk, and more people have less access to the kinds of health care generally available in the Bay Area. That is as it should be.
We’re somewhat ambivalent about the fact that so many people around here have figured out how to jump the line — or as the New York Times put it last week, “proved adept at vacuuming up shots meant for other zip codes.” Research shows that, in general, the older we are, the more risk we face due to COVID-19. People in their 50s and 60s are more likely to die with coronavirus than people in their 20s and 30s. So, we wonder why NBA players and Hollywood celebrities and those who simply have the time and temerity to travel to poorer communities for vaccines merit shots while those of us who don’t, well, don’t. On the other hand, we’re just glad many people are being vaccinated in a flawed process that nonetheless makes us all safer by increments.
In the meantime, we wait and we continue to take precautions. Masks and social distance will save us 50-somethings while getting a shot remains a 50-50 proposition.
Clay Lambert is 58 and got his Johnson and Johnson shot on Tuesday.