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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

UC San Diego Starting To Vaccinate Seniors, Other Health Systems Are Waiting

Carl Solomon, Senior Director of Environmental Services at UC San Diego Healt...

Credit: UC San Diego Health

Above: Carl Solomon, Senior Director of Environmental Services at UC San Diego Health gets a COVID-19 vaccine, Dec. 16, 2020.

UC San Diego Health on Thursday was moving forward with vaccinations for some patients 65 and older after getting the proper clearance.

In an emailed statement, UCSD said up to 500 seniors could be vaccinated per day.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

"Per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, UC San Diego Health has expanded into Phase 1B-Tier 1 for vaccinating its patients who are age 65 and older," the statement read.

"Eligible patients will receive a direct invitation to be vaccinated through their electronic medical record or a direct call from their health care provider. Due to limited supplies of vaccines, first priority will go to patients who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 infection and who have comorbid health conditions."

RELATED: California Allowing Seniors 65 And Older To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Reported by Matt Hoffman

For local health care systems, the number of doses they can offer to seniors depends on how many they have.

"The only vaccine we've been given is for the health care provider, and we just started about a week ago the second dose of the vaccine for health care providers," Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder said.

Scripps is ready to scale up in a big way, he said.

"If the government really wanted to speed up the process just get us the vaccine," Van Gorder said.

"Very loose guidelines is what we’d recommend and we would start putting the vaccine in a lot of patients. We can prioritize it by the sickest. We can do it by age. The challenging part is when you say ‘We’re going to just give it to grocery store workers.' We have no idea how to identify those individuals and that’s what I think slows the process down. Make it simple, get us the vaccine."

Health care systems will communicate directly with patients 65 and over to make appointments once they get vaccines. Some of that will happen through online portals, such as

Van Gorder said people are very eager to get vaccinated, even offering six-figure donations to jump the line.

"The head of my foundation was offered a million dollars for a vaccine — a donation of a million dollars — and we said, 'No. When they qualify we'll let them know,'" Van Gorder said. "There is a lot of people anxious to get the vaccine. Let's face it. We have a lot of seniors locked away in their homes waiting for this day for a very, very long time."

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Between late November and now, the number of COVID-19 deaths in San Diego County doubled from 1,000 to more than 2,000. Experts expect the number to continue to rise rapidly ... Read more →

Aired: January 15, 2021 | Transcript

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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