People 16 And Older Can Now Get COVID-19 Vaccines In San Diego County
Speaker 1: 00:00 All San Diego wins over the age of 16 are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine starting today. So far locally, more than 750,000 San Diego ones are fully vaccinated. That's 28% of the county's population as vaccines continue and more people become eligible. Those numbers should continue to increase while infections decrease. Joining me to discuss this milestone in the pandemic is Dr. Gail Knight, the chief medical officer at Rady children's hospital and co-chair of San Diego counties. COVID-19 vaccine clinical advisory group Dr. Night. Speaker 2: 00:36 Welcome. Thank you for having me here. So what do you, Speaker 1: 00:39 I see as the significance of this milestone in the fight against COVID-19 in San Diego County, Speaker 2: 00:45 It's huge. You know, I get daily reports to hospitalizations information about what's going on in our County and the impact that the vaccines have made is unbelievable. Prior to the middle of December, we were still steadily going up in San Diego with hospitalizations and deaths. And within several weeks of vaccines, starting to roll out, which were health care workers. At first, we started to see it turn right around and it looks just like a mountain. And so right now we're almost at the base of the mountain. We are still not out of the woods yet, but the dramatic rise that we saw in the fall early winter, and we're seeing this as a dramatic fall, um, and the number of people getting sick since starting the vaccination. So no question, no question, all that it's working. So to be where we are in San Diego has taken a lot of effort, a lot of different people, even grassroots, trying to get the word out, to get vaccinated. And today is a huge day because now 16 and over everyone, no matter what you can get vaccinated. And Speaker 1: 02:03 Now that all of those 16 and older are eligible for a vaccine, do you expect it to be harder to get them Speaker 2: 02:09 And appointment? You know, we have over certainly over the last few weeks, we there've been times where we've had vaccine shortage, as everybody knows, but the state, the government is really focusing on getting us more and more vaccine. So I actually don't know if it's going to be any harder, but it had, has taken effort for a lot of people to be able to get appointments. And I think that that's certainly gonna continue, but there are appointments that are out there and yes, it takes a lot of work. So we have to focus. We as healthcare systems, certainly carrot radio and our vaccine committee. What I focus on trying to get to those people that don't have as easy access to computers or smart phones or our ways to navigate the system, trying to reach out to them to say, Hey, this is where you can go to get vaccinated. This is who you can reach out to. Right? Speaker 1: 03:03 And just this week, the state had a vaccine shortfall forcing the closure of the Del Mar vaccine Superstation has vaccine supply increased enough to support the number of people in the County that are now? Speaker 2: 03:16 Well, I would say that if everyone showed up today, the answer would be no, but over this course of time, it won't happen over the next week or next couple of weeks. But I fully expect that we're going to have enough vaccine to get everyone vaccinated, that once they have a vaccine and that may take over the next month or two, several months, but we're going to get there. And if you think about it, we S we started in middle of December and we've had this dramatic drop in the number of illnesses that coincided with the dramatic increase in people getting vaccinated. So we just need to stay on this trajectory of getting vaccine and arms. So the minute doses hit our County, we are all over it, all the different sites and more, Speaker 1: 04:04 How has the pause and the use of the J and J vaccine impacted supply here in San Diego? Speaker 2: 04:10 Interestingly enough, we did not, um, have a significant, uh, large thousands and thousands of doses, um, compared to Pfizer and Madrona, we really have had quite a lot more at Pfizer Madrona. So it did have an impact, but not as much as some other areas, I would say a poll conductor Speaker 1: 04:32 Did buying 10 news and the San Diego union Tribune found that fewer people say, they'll get the vaccine following reports of blood clots and six women who had recently received the J and J vaccine. Are you concerned about the impact? This news will have on the goal of achieving hurdles Speaker 2: 04:49 Immunity. We still have Pfizer and Medina, which we've been as, you know, vaccinating some, uh, the middle of December. And I think that's where we have the focus and we have to let people know, look how many people we have been vaccinating with Pfizer, magenta. We have a pause on this third vaccine, but we still have the other tube that had been very impactful. And, and that's what we need to be putting in people's arms until more information comes out about the J and J, but you are absolutely right about people that are already hesitant. They want to step back and like, Oh, I'm not going to get vaccinated because of what's happening with J and J I've had those questions come to me. And I said, yes, but remember what we started with, we still have those two vaccines out here. Speaker 1: 05:36 And Friday Pfizer requested to expand its emergency use authorization to kids between 12 and 15. And this news comes as many schools in the County are reopening in person for the first time in a year. What role do you see vaccinating this age group have having on keeping schools open? Speaker 2: 05:55 Well, um, for one, leave it up to the experts to decide about the, um, emergency use for that Pfizer, as you know, we've, um, Pfizer goes down to 16 at this point, and we certainly have to focus on that. I think in terms of schools, we've already determined that if we are washing hands wearing masks and doing all the thing, um, distant that those measures are working enough for us, for kids to get back in school. So I really, and certainly is a pediatric person. Just want us to separate the two and focus on what can we do to minimize the risk of illness with COVID with the measures we currently have, and then let the experts decide whether or not 12 and up can be safely administered the Pfizer vaccine. Speaker 1: 06:45 Um, now that more people are eligible for the vaccine and appointments, those appointments may be harder to get what recommendations do you have for our listeners on scheduling an appointment? Speaker 2: 06:55 The most important first step is to sign up on my term.ca.gov. That's the website and the sign up to be notified about vaccine where it's available and you can check on there and you can check every day for sites that have vaccine available. Um, and it really will take that effort, especially as we all talked about the expansion to more people, but appointments are out there and also want to remind everybody to just get a vaccine in your arm. If it's available at that fight is safe and it will be administered. So it doesn't matter whether it's Pfizer or Madrona at this point, just get vaccinated. Speaker 1: 07:41 All right. I've been speaking with Dr. Gail Knight, chief medical officer of Rady children's hospital and chair of San Diego county's COVID-19 vaccine clinical advisory group Dr. Night. Thank you so much for joining us. Speaker 2: 07:55 Thank you so much for having me.