EL CENTRO, Calif. (Border Report) — The old adage about supply and demand is very much in play in Imperial County, Calif.
The county in the southeast corner of the state claims it has not gotten enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to meet demand.
Recent vaccination events have been called chaotic as many older residents wait in long lines or overnight to get vaccinated, and some have not been able to get their shots at all.
According to Imperial County, it has been plagued by slow vaccine deliveries arriving from the state.
Inewsource reporter Jennifer Bowman described how Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley and El Centro Regional Medical Center planned to offer just 900 vaccine doses to residents 65 and older after the state widened eligibility requirements that increased by tens of thousands the number of those who qualify.
Bowman also reported how several hundred seniors waited in line for more than 12 hours to get vaccinated.
“It’s devastating for our communities, what they’ve had to go through,” Janette Angulo, the county’s public health director, told Inewsource. “It’s only fair that the needed resources make it to our communities and make it to the most vulnerable.”
The lack of enough vaccine supply is yet another blow to this county of about 180,000 residents.
It has been one of the areas hardest hit by COVID-19 in California and has often held the highest hospitalization rate in the state.
On a positive note, county health officials are reporting declining numbers following a surge in cases in recent months.
Nearly 26,000 people in Imperial County have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, roughly 14% of its population.
According to Bowman’s report, about 12,500 vaccine doses have arrived in the county as of last week in spite of the state widening eligibility to older residents.
Imperial County leaders recently sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom asking for more vaccines.
The letter states deliveries so far “do not seem to meet the needs of Imperial County, nor your expressed original intent of prioritizing communities hardest hit by this pandemic.”