"We really thought we'd be swimming in vaccine by mid-April. That's clearly not the case."
DAN ASHLEY: Supply however could take a pretty significant dip over the next two weeks. It comes as the state is about to expand eligibility to millions of Californians. Health officials are worried that the supply drop could hurt the plan to reopen the state's economy in June. ABC7 News reporter Stephanie Sierra is in the newsroom tonight with the new numbers from the state that are out, Steph.
STEPHANIE SIERRA: Yes Dan, California currently has around $5 million doses for the next two weeks. But it's the incoming supply from the federal government that counties are now concerned about. That allotment is being cut right around the time most people become eligible. It's been close to three weeks since the governor promised vaccine supply would be available to all Californians by late April.
- We continue to not be close to where we need to be.
STEPHANIE SIERRA: Instead the state's vaccine supply will be shrinking. Starting next week, the number of doses coming into California is dropping 15% from 2.4 million doses to two million doses. Another 5% drop as expected the following week.
DESI KOTIS: Disappointing, because we've been told for many months that oh, don't worry. By mid-April you will have as much vaccine as you need. And that's not the case.
STEPHANIE SIERRA: Desi Kotis is the Chief Pharmacy Executive for UCSF Health. She explains UCSF partnered city run sites have the capacity to administer 5,000 to 7,000 shots per day, but have been consistently waiting for supply increases to meet that goal. Next week is no different.
DESI KOTIS: We are receiving about what we received last week.
STEPHANIE SIERRA: The drop in doses is coming at a critical time.
- Next week on April 15 where there will be no restrictions in terms of accessing these vaccines.
STEPHANIE SIERRA: Next Thursday, the state is expanding vaccine eligibility to all Californians 16 and older. There's roughly 18 million people living in the state that have yet to receive a shot, yet the state's current supply is around 5 million doses.
- The more people get vaccinated, the quicker we can turn the page.
STEPHANIE SIERRA: Will that page turn in time for the economy to reopen by June? Kotis is hopeful we'll have that answer by May.
DESI KOTIS: We really do think it would be raining vaccine. That we would be swimming in vaccine. Hopefully by the beginning of May, at least for Pfizer and Moderna we'll have larger quantities coming into California.
STEPHANIE SIERRA: Now if the supply continues to shrink by May, Kotis says it's possible that June 15 reopen date could be pushed back. But like others Dan, she is staying cautiously optimistic given many counties like San Francisco have more than 50% of the population that's received at least one dose.
DAN ASHLEY: Good reason to be cautiously optimistic actually. Stephanie, is the drop directly related to the Johnson and Johnson shortage?
STEPHANIE SIERRA: Yes exactly. To put it in perspective, this week we got more than a half million Johnson and Johnson doses. Next week, California is only getting around 12% of that allotment. The following week, we're only getting around 4%. So J&J shots will be few and far between the next two weeks.
DAN ASHLEY: OK Steph, thank you.