Some Californians Willing to Travel a Distance to Get COVID-19 Shots – NBC Bay Area


Everyday it seems many people are hearing stunning stories of friends and neighbors going to great lengths to get vaccinated as soon as they can as Bay Area counties continue to struggle with vaccine supply issues.

For example, thousands of cars coming and going at the Levi’s Stadium mass vaccination site in Santa Clara all day long but don’t be misled.

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib told NBC Bay Area the county received just 40,000 doses last week. “However, I would warn people, basically, that there aren’t many first dose appointments,” he said.

Fenstersheib said he expects numbers to remain flat again this week. That means for at least one more week, it’s going to be difficult to get your first shot in Santa Clara county.

For Santa Cruz county resident Vijay Char, he said it seemed impossible to find his first shot in his county, so he went to the MyTurn website. “It prompted me to go look in Solano, so I absolutely looked there,” he said.

Char tells NBC Bay Area that he and his wife drove more than two hours from their Aptos home, six days ago to a site in Fairfield, only to find a note above the door stating no vaccines ran out.

Char added that dozens of people showed up in the few hours as he waited there to see if more vaccines would arrive. “It was sad to see some of the older folks that were struggling out of their wheelchairs and getting into their walkers and hobbling over to the door only to find that rejection there,” he said.

The couple did not give up, finally setting up their appointments directly through CVS Pharmacy’s vaccination page. But it was a CVS that was located two and a half hours away in Fresno. “The drive, I mean, it’s okay during these times to get out of the routine and go somewhere,” Char said.

Another looming issue could drag out the supply problem. There is mounting skepticism over AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is still awaiting FDA emergency authorization. This comes after the company revealed that its publicly stated efficacy findings may have not been final.

Fenstersheib said he’s sure that the FDA and every federal and state agencies involved in approving the drug will vet the vaccine thoroughly. “To the point of making sure that no vaccine is authorized for this country that has unacceptable safety issues around it,” he said.

Fenstersheib believes everyone who wants to be fully vaccinated will be able to do so before the end of summer.





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Desire for Normalcy Is Fueling a Busy Travel Season – NBC Boston


Hope is on the horizon for those dreaming of summer travel. With President Joe Biden targeting July 4 for small gatherings and public health experts giving summer getaways the green light, many are already planning an escape.

At Audley Travel, the phones are ringing off the hook from those looking to book.

“In the last three months, we’ve seen a 300% increase in bookings,” said Alex Shattuck of Audley Travel.

Shattuck said prices are still reasonable, but will be going up due to all of the pent-up demand. He also said many are looking to travel to domestic destinations first.

“Hawaii is our single biggest booking destination, followed by the U.S. national parks,” Shattuck said.

On Cape Cod, vacation rentals and hotels are also in hot demand. Matt Pitta, the director of communications for Red Jacket Resorts, said they are expecting a huge summer at their properties.

“We started getting hundreds of phone calls in January from people inquiring about availability, and from that point on, it has done nothing but accelerate,” Pitta said.

Pitta said the popular summer weekends are already starting to fill up and anyone looking to book a Cape escape should do so soon.

“If you want a certain room or date, don’t wait. There is so much demand this year, we are going have to hire more employees,” he said.

The travel and tourism industry is starting to bounce back in Boston, too. Martha Sheridan of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau said more people are starting to inquire about small weddings and events. She said what would help is more advance notice from the state about when the gathering limit will increase.

“We’re hopefully that will increase as vaccinations go up and infection rates go down. People are tired of being cooped up at home and they’re ready,” Sheridan said. “They’re not looking, they’re booking.”





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