SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - People 65 and up are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in California, but getting county-run appointments can be frustrating.
Counties limit their vaccine allotment to residents.
CVS and Walgreens are a welcome alternative.
The registration does not require vaccine recipients to be from the store's neighborhoods.
And some customers are more than willing to drive outside their zip code to vaccination appointments.
People in Oxnard and Ventura recently got vaccinated in Santa Maria and Santa Paula.
Others checking online in Ventura and Santa Barbara found openings at stores in Newbury Park and Bakersfield.
At CVS patients with appointments will get a confirmation text when it's their turn or they will be helped by a worker at a table out front.
CVS said to think of it like a round-trip ticket when you register on CVS.com or through the CVS app. The registration process will allow individuals to sign up for their first and second dose.
"We're thrilled to have launched the Federal Pharmacy Partnership program on Friday at 353 select CVS Pharmacy locations across 11 states, including California," said Monica Prinzing at CVS Health.
She said vaccinations are by appointment only and she encouraged eligible customers to find a location that is convenient to access.
"At CVS we're proud to be part of the solution to help bring normalcy to people's lives and peace of mind."
Rina Shah, the group Vice President of Pharmacy Operations and Services at Walgreens said, "It's important people understand vaccine inventory is still limited and appointments go fast, so please be patient as inventory builds in the coming weeks or months."
Susan Bardick of Santa Barbara stopped at Walgreens in Goleta. She said she would encourage loved ones to travel to another community for a vaccine.
"Oh, Yeah, absolutely. It has been very difficult to get vaccines here in town, even though they say you can be 65 and over as of tomorrow, they don't have the supply. If we can get it somewhere else definitely," said Bardick.
Lorraine Jaramillo-Gonzales said she would drive to another community to get vaccinated.
She said she has already lost her mother and other loved ones to COVID19 in Mexico.
Individuals eligible in California can make appointments for both doses at the same time at their website here.
In addition to CVS.com, CVS has a customer service line at 1-800-SHOP-CVS (1-800-746-7287) to make an appointment.
The COVID-19 vaccines are free
Both stores anticipate adding more store locations and appointments as more vaccines become available.