Credit: File Photo | Mustang News

San Luis Obispo County is planning to install a new registration and lottery system for vaccinations this week, announced at a county press briefing Wednesday, Feb. 24. 

“We know that [appointments] have been challenging for a lot of people,” County Health Officer Penny Borenstein said at the briefing. “We know our system is not perfect and we are working very hard to continuously improve our system.”

Since vaccinations began, opportunities to make appointments have been accessible for all of those who have wanted to, Borenstein said. 

According to Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County put a hold on the idea of the lottery system when they were told that the My Turn statewide scheduling system was coming imminently. However, the scheduling system is not as close to launching as they were originally told, and it may not be feasible for the next six to eight weeks. 

“Thus, we feel that we need to do something now locally too with improving our appointment system,” Borenstein said. 

The county’s new registration system should be available in the next week, Borenstein said. 

“The details of the lottery registration system are still being worked out,” County Spokesperson Michelle Shoresman said. “We will share more information as we have it.”

Until then, vaccination registration will open at 9 a.m. each day. Patients can make appointments on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Recover SLO website. Vaccination registration is currently reserved for adults 65 and older. 

CVS and Rite Aid will be administering vaccinations as well, since receiving federal allocation of the vaccination, Borenstein said. 

The state has mandated that agriculture and food workers, education and childcare workers and emergency service workers can now receive vaccinations as supplies allow, with 10% of vaccine allocation going to the education sector.

“Childcare providers and our kindergarten through 12th-grade school staff, teachers, those doing in-person services will have access starting next week,” Borenstein said.

Borenstein said that a proportionate allocation of vaccinations to higher education workers will begin rolling out in the next one to two weeks. 

The timeframe for when Cal Poly students can obtain a vaccine still remains unsure, Shoresman said. 

“Our team is working closely with those at Campus Health and Wellbeing on how and where those vaccines will be distributed when the time comes,” Shoresman said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, San Luis Obispo County’s active COVID-19 caseload has decreased from an all-time high in mid-January of over 3,000 to 584 on Wednesday, according to Borenstein. 

San Luis Obispo County is on track to administer over 10,000 vaccinations in the next week, Borenstein said. Of the vaccination sites in the county, one of them will be reaching their goal of administering at least 1,000 doses per day. The goal is to eventually administer 15,000 doses per day. 

Borenstein said that over 54,000 doses have been administered in the county, and more than one-third of these have been second doses. Second doses are a priority, and those who have received only their first will get a reminder the Wednesday before they’re due for the second. Almost 15% of the county’s population is fully vaccinated. 

The virus continues to be a leading cause of death and illness. Eleven people in San Luis Obispo County have died due to the virus in the last week.

“It is a reminder to all of us we are not done, this pandemic is still here,” Borenstein said. “We may see another wave if we don’t continue to do all the good work that I know this county can do.”

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