1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine stuck in transit across CA, data shows

SAN FRANCISCO -- More than 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are stuck in transit across California, according to state data. That's up from the previous backlog of 900,000 doses.

The ABC7 I-Team is monitoring the more than 2 million vaccines shipped to California over the past month. As of Thursday, only 24 percent have been used.

The data was last updated on Tuesday, according to the California Department of Public Health.

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A potential solution to aid the backup is on the horizon.

The only problem? There's a lack of communication.

Sources close to ABC confirm roughly 30,000 California nursing students are qualified and ready to administer vaccines, but county health departments have yet to give the green light.

"There's no direct line of communication," said Janis Wisherop.

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Governor Gavin Newsom expects an even bigger post-holiday COVID-19 surge in California, he said in a noon press conference update today. He also gave an update on the regional stay-at-home order and the slow vaccine rollout.

Wisherop is the interim director for the College of San Mateo nursing program. She said there are 100 trained nursing students in her program that are certified to administer vaccines and need to complete clinical hours.

"I have students who need clinical hours," said Wisherop. "All last semester they were practicing with the flu vaccine...who can totally help with this."

According to Wisherop, her students are required to complete 100 hours per semester.

"That means 10,000 injections that could help reduce the backlog," she said. "But, I just don't hear back."

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Nursing directors at community colleges in Marin, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Alameda have also made attempts to recruit nursing students to help, but haven't heard back from their respective county health departments.

"There is a huge disconnect," said Dr. Sharon Anne Goldfarb, the President of the California Organization of Associate Degree Nursing. "We have 30,000 student nurses who are ready to help."

But, since student and faculty nurses aren't hospital or clinical affiliated, they're unable to get vaccinated first.

"Since we aren't...there's no place for us to get these vaccines," said Goldfarb.

Our sister station KGO-TV brought this issue to the California Department of Public Health. We are told the state is now looking into it.
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