Napa County pauses COVID-19 vaccine rollout to save second doses

Pharmacist Marie Antonette Tambot holds a vaccine vial and shot
Pharmacist Marie Antonette Tambot prepares Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif.
(Associated Press)

Napa County residents who have already received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine may have to wait a little longer than anticipated to receive their second shot because the county is running out, according to health officials.

Front-line healthcare workers and people 75 and older will still be prioritized to receive the second dose of vaccine on time, said Dr. Karen Relucio, the county’s public health officer. But others who are eligible for the vaccine may have to wait two more weeks for their second shots.

First-dose clinics have been paused as the county catches up on giving second doses, Relucio said.

“Although it’s amazing that the vaccine is here now, we just don’t have enough of it,” Relucio said. “Supplies are unpredictable. We’re running on thin margins.”


People between 65 and 74, emergency service, food and agriculture workers and education and childcare staff who have received the vaccine’s first dose are among those who should expect a longer wait for their second, officials said. The Moderna vaccine’s two doses are usually delivered 28 days apart, and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recommends giving the second dose after 21 days. But guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allows for six weeks between the first and second doses.

Napa County has administered more than 27,000 doses so far, according to officials. With weekly allocations of about 10,000 doses, the county has been rolling out the vaccine as quickly and to as many recipients as possible, said County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht.

“When they set us to do 10,000 a week, we took them seriously and we did the 10,000, but we had to use some of the doses we were going to save for the second doses, and so we’re paying for that now in having to come up with more doses,” he said. “It’s been very trying.”

The county has sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom requesting more vaccine, he said.

“We really do understand that we need more product; we’re just trying to get it whatever way we possibly can,” Wagenknecht said.

Molly Rattigan, Napa County’s deputy executive officer, added that the county is making sure every dose goes to use, with officials picking up any leftover vaccine from the state hospital and administering it to people on a waitlist every evening.

“We stay here as long as we need to get those and meet demand,” she said.

Napa County has reported 8,483 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Times tracker, and the case count is trending downward. County health officials said 58 people have died from COVID-19, with most deaths occurring in January.