California launches new COVID-19 vaccine distribution system


COVID VACCINE / Manatee County Governmt / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

A nurse prepares to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

The State of California launched the My Turn website, a new system for delivering, tracking, and scheduling coronavirus vaccines, on March 1.

The website, run by insurance giant Blue Shield, serves as a central site for all Californians to sign up for vaccination appointments. It hopes to increase the number of doses being administered. The site also allows data management to ensure that the vaccine is being distributed equitably to low-income areas, specifically Latino and Black communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Dr. John Swartzberg, a clinical professor at The UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, said a more organized issuance system should provide a “big boost to distributing these vaccines.”

Although it will likely take more than a month to go into full effect, Californians should notice an improvement in the state’s vaccine rollout. 

“I think we’ve seen the worst of it [the pandemic], clearly. It’s going to get a lot better,” Swartzberg said. “I expect that by April, our state will have both the logistics and supply system running smoothly. It’s going to be a lot easier for people to get a vaccine.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 9.3 million doses have been given in California as of March 3. This means that 15.5% of Californians have received at least one shot, with 6.6% having received the full regimen. California is expected to administer 3 million shots per week this month and up to 4 million next month as Blue Shield takes over full leadership. 

Andrew Ghazouli, a junior, received his vaccine a little over a week ago. 

“I was able to get it because there were some extra vaccines available at [the SFO distribution center],” Ghazouli said, referring to the pattern of distribution centers being left with extra doses that expire if they are not administered.

Like Ghazouli, junior Josie Wescott has also received a vaccine. 

“I was always anxious to go to work because I was afraid I would get sick, so as soon as food workers were cleared to get vaccinated, I made an appointment to get a vaccine,” said Wescott, who works at a grocery store. “I’ve only gotten the first dose so far, so I’m not fully protected, but I still feel so much safer at my job.”

Ghazouli shared his thoughts on what being vaccinated means to him.

“I’m part of a sports cohort right now, and I have asthma. It’s nice to know that I have a serious form of protection from COVID-19 now, but I’m still being just as safe as I was before,” Ghazouli said. 

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