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Why you can't make an appointment for Stanislaus County's vaccine clinics

The county said walk-in and first come first serve is the best option they have available over appointment systems and drive-thru clinics.

STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. — In Stanislaus County, the coronavirus vaccine clinics run on a walk-in and first come first serve basis. For now, if you're looking for an appointment, you won't find it at the county's mass vaccination clinics.

On Tuesday, Kamlesh Kaur, spokesperson for county health services, told ABC10 that the county was working on other systems to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine, but for now, the walk-in model is their best option to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

Part of the issues with appointments stems from vaccine supply.

“When you put together appointments, it doesn’t necessarily take into account how many vaccines you may have available," Kaur said. 

She said that the county usually finds out week to week how many vaccines they'll have on hand and that it could cause problems if appointments are made and supply runs out.

“When we have an appointment or a wait system in place and then we don’t have as many vaccines, we want to avoid people showing up in line and then being told that I’m sorry ‘you’re appointment was at 10 o’clock but we ran out of vaccines,'” Kaur said.

Adding to the issue is a digital divide for people who don't have access to the internet or a way to call and make appointments. For now, she said the challenge is figuring out how to make an appointment system equitable and how to keep it from stretching out wait times.

Drive-thru clinics are another conversation point, but, given the resources and manpower that the county has on hand, the county said it wasn't an option.

“When we put together a drive-thru clinic there are a lot of details and resources that go in place with that," Kaur said. "We have considered many locations and many scenarios and, right now given our county and the locations we have available, the clinics that we have open were the most feasible and accessible option available.”

Another key factor with drive-thru clinics is the 15-minute wait time for observation after the vaccine is administered.

“In a drive-thru situation, it makes it a little bit harder to keep monitoring people in the car. That does pose us a challenge when we don’t have people to monitor people in cars," Kaur said. 

The clinics include sites in Turlock, Modesto, and Oakdale, all with varied operation times depending on vaccine supply. A Patterson site is set to open on Jan. 29. If given enough vaccine, the four sites have the capacity to do 40,000 vaccinations a week. All of them follow a walk-in and first come first serve model.

“I know it's an inconvenience to stand in line. It’s not the most optimal situation, however, given our resources and our spaces, and availability of other spaces, this was the best option we had available,” Kaur said.

While there are no appointments for the county's vaccine clinics, people can still try to contact their provider or a pharmacy to schedule an appointment. A list of providers is available HERE. More information on vaccinations in Stanislaus County and the mass vaccination clinics is available on the county website or the StanEmergency Facebook page.


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