For weeks, Ryan Wilson and his family have been on a mission, desperately trying to get COVID vaccine appointments for his parents.
“In particular for my dad who’s 83 with diabetes and a history of asthma problems,” says Wilson.
It’s been a challenge.
“Very frustrating … county website went down, state website went down, where all those appointments were booked within 30 minutes yet you couldn’t get on the system to do so,” he says in disbelief.
Michael Osur, Riverside County’s Assistant Director of Public Health and Deputy Incident Commander for Vaccine Response says there have been two issues. They fixed the computer issues on their end, and the state is working on theirs.
But Osur says the main issue is not enough vaccine, “We want people vaccinated, we’re doing everything we can to make that happen, that would solve all the issues if I had enough clinics then people could get the appointments, we wouldn’t have website issues, everything would solve itself if we had four times more vaccine.”
The county is focusing on getting people 85-years and older vaccinated and just put more clinics online with the goal of bringing the vaccine to them.
“There’s so many competing competing priorities but those most at risk of illness and death are those over 65 and the state really wants us to focus on the age,” says Osur, adding he expects more changes to come from the state next week.
So far they’ve vaccinated 149,000 people and now the county says they have the locations, they have the staff, they just need the stuff.
“We’re getting about 22,000 doses a week and we could do four times as many vaccinations if we had more vaccine,” says Osur.
The county says they do not hold on to vaccine doses and are ready for any and all brands like Johnson and Johnson to be approved.
“I don’t care what brand it is if it’s approved by the federal government we’ll give it out as fast as we can,” says Osur.
As for Wilson’s parents, he says they finally have appointments next week, “It’s a big relief that they have those appointments i mean once they have both those doses it’s going to give them a change to be around my kids more their grandkids.”