Contra Costa County is slowly rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations to those age 65 and older, according to county officials. (Photo via Pete Linforth/Pixabay)

Contra Costa Health Services has received roughly 1,000 vaccination requests per hour since expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility Thursday to all residents 65 and older, county officials said Friday.

While the county and its partners expect to administer an average of 3,600 vaccine doses per day by the end of next week, according to the county’s deputy health officer and COVID-19 operations chief Dr. Ori Tzvieli, demand is still far outpacing supply.

“We want the vaccine to keep flowing,” Tzvieli said Friday during a briefing on the county’s vaccination efforts. “We’re ready for that and we’re hoping that’ll be the case.”

Roughly 36,000 vaccine doses have been administered in the county since the vaccines became available in December.

However, appointment wait times at county-run vaccination sites are still roughly one week, according to Tzvieli and Contra Costa Health Services director Anna Roth.

Vaccinations at public and private health care facilities are also plodding along for now.

In addition to the lack of doses, Tzvieli said the county must also increase its number of health care workers that are trained to administer vaccines and monitor patients for 15 minutes after administration for allergic reactions.

Roth said the county has partnered with pharmacy technicians at Safeway and Rite Aid as well as fire agencies and paramedics across the county to help administer vaccines.

“All this is being built while we’re facing the largest surge of the pandemic, which is already our stretching our limited resources,” Tzvieli said.

The county has looked into eventually establishing a mass-vaccination site like those that have opened or are expected to open at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, San Diego’s Petco Park and Sacramento’s Cal Expo.

While the details of a large-scale vaccination site are still being ironed out, Tzvieli said doing so boils down to the number of available doses and that the county has prioritized having as many of its partners offer vaccinations first.

“We do feel that when we have enough vaccine to be able to pull off one of those sites, we would like to do that,” he said. “It’s all about supply. If I had an extra 20,000 doses, I would arrange those in a jiffy but I just don’t have those right now.”