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Covid-19 vaccines open up to anyone 16 and up; appointments are available but filling up fast.

Covid-19 vaccines open up to anyone 16 and up; appointments are available but filling up fast.

We reached another milestone in the Covid-19 pandemic today with vaccine eligibility opening up to everyone age 16 and up. Despite the larger number of people that can now be vaccinated, there are appointments available in various places around the county.

A mass vaccination drive-through clinic for people ages 18 and up, using the Moderna vaccine, is taking place Saturday, April 17, at the Salinas Sports Complex. Sign-ups are on Eventbrite. Some slots were still available as of noon today, April 15. Those attending will be able to register for a second shot at the same location 28 days later.

Other clinics keep popping up around the county. Pay attention to announcements in your community in the news media and on social media for upcoming clinics. Just this week Seaside hosted clinics for Seaside residents, for example.

For more information about vaccinations see the Weekly's guide. On a daily basis the best websites to check include:

Pharmacy websites are also good to check daily. Costco has joined the other big pharmacies in offering vaccines.

On Wednesday, county officials told reporters during a briefing that it's crucial that people do not double-book appointments, or if they do, that they cancel appointments they do not intend to keep. Double booking is suspected as the cause of hundreds of no-shows at a mass vaccination clinic in Salinas last weekend, said Shade Alabi, a Natividad pharmacist. 

"It’s really imperative that when patients book appointments they show up," Alabi said. Not only do organizers have to coordinate removing vaccine from freezers—at which point the doses must be used within five days—they also have to schedule medical personnel, volunteers and other workers for each clinic. When patients don't show up, they have to scramble to make sure the vaccine doses are used up before they expire.

There has been a pause in use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other agencies study six known instances of women between the ages of 18-48 developing a rare blood clot condition. Monterey County Health Officer Edward Moreno told reporters on Wednesday that Johnson & Johnson vaccines make up a small percentage of the total number used locally. He does not expect the pause to have a big impact on appointment availability in Monterey County.

The J&J hold-up, however, did have an impact on efforts like those of All-In Monterey, which was planning on vaccinating people in homeless encampments this week with vaccines provided by the CAP Rx Pharmacy in Pacific Grove, according to All-In leader Tanya Kosta.