Dozens waited in line for hours for COVID-19 vaccines at a Ralphs pharmacy in El Segundo early Friday, some showing up as early as 3 a.m., before being met with confusion over whether they would be offered the shots without appointments.
Several people said they were told to arrive early to receive a dose from a limited supply being given to walk-ins without an appointment, but the pharmacy later put up a handwritten cardboard sign saying “COVID-19 vaccines by appointment only.”
A Ralphs spokesman said the pharmacy’s policy remains that all locations only offer vaccines by appointment, based on vaccine availability.
“Unfortunately, our store shared incorrect information about walk-in vaccinations and what transpired is exactly why we have our policy requiring online appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine,” the company spokesman said in a statement. “We have also created signage relaying this information and delivered to all stores for additional clarity going forward.”
The vaccine rollout in California has been slower than expected due to the limited number of doses arriving in the state, and it has all been complicated by the confusion over who’s eligible in each county.
Not all counties are offering vaccine to the same groups of people, and they each have different vaccine sign-up websites — many of which have experienced technical issues.
“It’s completely unfair and it’s inconsistent with President Biden’s [promise of] 100 million vaccinations in 100 days,” El Segundo resident Randy Duncan said. “My 90-year-old parents. They need to be vaccinated.”
Duncan was standing in line in the dark outside the Ralphs in El Segundo, along with several others, many of whom were 65 and older, bundled up and waiting in folding chairs.
Click here for information on who’s eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and how to sign up for a shot in L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.