Opinion: Newsom and the vaccines — failure to plan is planning to fail


Daily Post Editor

America developed a vaccine for Covid-19 in record time. Nobody thought the scientists and pharmaceutical companies could come up with vaccines in a year. But they did. It was a miracle.

Turns out that the people at the state and county level distributing the vaccine aren’t as bright. In Los Angeles, County Supervisor Janice Hahn is furious over reports that clinics are throwing out perfectly good vaccines because people scheduled to get the shots aren’t showing up for their appointments.

The multi-phased, multiple tier system Gov. Gavin Newsom devised for deciding who gets shots is so rigid that workers are afraid to just walk outside of their clinics and offer the shots to anybody on the street. Instead, they just throw out perfectly good vaccines.

California is at the bottom of states when it comes to distribution of the vaccines. Only 38% of the 3.1 million doses the state has received have ended up in peoples’ arms. Close to 2 million doses is sitting in freezers.

West Virginia has a simpler system of distributing vaccines. It is vaccinating residents at the fastest rate of all 50 states.

While vaccines waste away in Los Angeles, the pace of vaccinating people in the Bay Area is excruciatingly slow. Both San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are stuck in Phase 1A, which calls for vaccinating nursing home residents and the homes’s care providers.

Still, only half of the 150,000 doses Santa Clara County has received have been administered.

Nobody knows who is in charge. The state? The county? The CDC?

“Almost every practical question I ask anybody, the answer I get is a shrug of the shoulders,” Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, told the Los Angeles Times. “It is not good. It just feels like the plans have been made without any attention to the practicalities of the last mile.”

This humongous foul-up has left people frustrated. They call doctor offices and pharmacies about vaccines and get no answers.

Santa Clara and San Mateo counties have some of the brightest minds when it comes to medicine, but we are sadly behind on all of this.

Gov. Newsom had the summer and fall to plan the distribution of these vaccines. What was he done? How many mask-less dinners could he consume at the French Laundry in Yountville?

• • •

Get it in writing

If Congress approves Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion (with a T) spending package for Covid, I hope our representatives demand some accountability. Specifically, this bill should say how many vaccines need to be administered before schools can reopen. How many shots should be administered before restaurants can resume indoor dining.

One of the most frustrating things about this crisis is the constant moving of the goal posts by local, state and federal health officials.

Editor Dave Price’s column appears on Mondays. His email address is [email protected].


  1. Thank you, Dave, for pointing out the lack of planning and lack of accountability. Some use the excuse that this is a complex problem. It’s not. It’s a distribution problem. A logistics problem. Newsom knew this was coming. He should have planned and coordinated with counties and health organizations to prepare. Instead, we’ve got chaos at every level.

  2. This is an ideological problem. Instead of getting vaccines in arms, we have to prove we are being fair about who gets the vaccine first. The result is not many people get vaccinated. Perishable vaccines go to waste. Caring more for appearing to do right instead of actually doing right.

  3. Mr. Price, et al…

    You are often too quick to criticize the actions of our leaders, particularly Gavin Newsom and other elected Democrats when the bottom line is the fault lies with the failed Trump Administration who totally neglected to implement an effective national vaccine rollout or even admit there was a Pandemic at all.

    Why don’t you try a little unity of purpose and get behind the American People in overcoming four years of domestic BS and encourage working together instead of wasting time and effort pumping more division.

    • I think getting the vaccines made, tested and manufactured in less than a year checks the box for a national strategy. Distribution of the vaccines was left up to the states. It’s so typical of the Democrats to want to find a Republican to blame for their mistakes. Now that Trump is gone, who will they use as their scapegoat?

    • California was ranked 46th in distributing the vaccine the we have been given until a couple od days ago. Its now 42nd. All the States had Trump as their President. Biden’s plan is to get 1 million vaccinated each day, a level already exceeded before any new planning has been implemented Even California in the last couple of days has exceeded a level consistent with 1 million nationally. The bottle neck in the vaccination is not the supply of vaccine or even the last mile process its getting the vaccine from the State to the people doing th einnoculations. Santa Clara paused vaccinating because the supply of Moderna was not released. When is was they resumed.

  4. Newsom spent the summer and fall trashing Trump. Then, when its the turn of governors to do their part, it’s a complete disaster. We have the vaccine that can stop COVID-19, but we have idiotic systems of political preferences that are keeping the public from the vaccine. We need a new governor, now.

  5. Orange man’s fault! He must have possessed Gavin and willed him to incompetence! How else could our Dear Leader have failed us so badly?

  6. Roy,
    Trump delivered the vaccines. They were always slated to be distributed by the states. What on Earth have our state leaders been doing to prepare for the rollout? I am thrilled Biden appears to have a national vaccination plan at the ready, but make no mistake this failure is all on State level leaders who refused to do their jobs.

  7. Trump would like gullible Americans to fervently believe that he deserves full credit for accelerating the US research & development program to find an effective COVID-19 vaccine in record time. Nothing could be further from the truth. German government funding paid $445 million to Pfizer to develop the Pfizer vaccine they are currently distributing through out the US. Trump only agreed to buy it (with US taxpayer dollars) when it was federally approved. German government research & development is the primary reason we have an effective vaccine in “Warp Speed”.

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