Southern California Vaccine Distribution Declining Despite Lottery Initiative

June 10, 2021 Updated: June 10, 2021

Despite California’s $116.5 million lottery initiative to encourage more residents to get vaccinated, the demand for vaccines in Orange County, California, is slowly declining, officials say.

Kaiser Permanente spokesperson Terry Kanakri said that Southern California—and Orange County specifically—have not experienced any significant change in vaccination rates since Gov. Gavin Newson’s May 27 lottery announcement.

Newsom has said the incentive aimed to give an extra nudge to those who still need to get vaccinated, but were hesitant to do so.

“Getting every eligible Californian vaccinated is how we bring our state roaring back from this pandemic,” Newsom said in a press release announcing the initiative. “California has already made incredible progress in the fight against COVID-19, with the lowest case rates in the country, while administering millions more vaccines than any other state. But we aren’t stopping there, we’re doing everything it takes to get Californians vaccinated as we approach June 15 to help us fully reopen safely.”

According to a pharmacist, the rate of inoculation at local pharmacies has also been declining steadily for a few weeks.

“Right now, it’s going down. Since three or four weeks ago,” the CVS pharmacist told The Epoch Times.

MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills has observed the same trend.

“While we have not seen a significant increase in demand … we will continue to provide education across MemorialCare to help address vaccine hesitancy in our community,” the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer Catherine Shitara told The Epoch Times.

The decline of vaccine distribution comes a month after news the county would shut its vaccine super point dispensing (POD) site June 6, after observing a decline in demand for the sites.

Orange County’s vaccine demand was high from the beginning of April to April 23 before slowly declining. The peak vaccine distribution date for the county was on April 16, with 40,921 doses administered.

The week of Gov. Gavin Newson’s lottery announcement, Orange County was ranging between 14,000 and 16,000 administered doses per day, a decline from between 19,000 to 22,000 per day the week prior.

Following the state lottery initiative announcement, the demand for the vaccine has either remained steady or experienced no significant increase, between 1,000 to 16,000 administered doses per day.

California’s lottery initiative includes a $1.5 million cash prize for each of 10 winners that are to be selected on the state’s reopening date, June 15. The lottery kicked off with its first drawing on June 4, where 10 names were pulled for $50,000 prizes. A second drawing for 10 $50,000 prizes will be held June 11.

As of June 9, over 1.6 million Orange County residents are fully vaccinated, with over 300,000 receiving at least one dose.