“In Santa Clara County we are confronting vaccine distribution inequities head-on by going directly to our residents disproportionately hit by COVID and vaccinating them where they live,” said County Supervisor Cindy Chavez who represents Central and East San José. “The people working at this vaccination site understand the community, their language and culture. That is critical to getting everyone vaccinated and we will continue to put more vaccination sites in these areas.”
“The County Health System is leading the way in getting our county vaccinated despite daunting logistical and supply challenges,” said County Supervisor Otto Lee, who represents the East Foothills and other neighborhoods in East San José. “We are committed to realizing the goal of achieving parity in vaccine access across our diverse communities, and sites like East Valley Clinic will help us get there.”
The East Valley Clinic site is part of the County’s rapid expansion of vaccination capacity as appointments open up to frontline workers from the State’s Phase 1B beginning February 28th, including workers in childcare and education, emergency services, and food and agriculture. The County is still seeing disparities in vaccine access for Latinx and African/African Ancestry communities and is implementing myriad strategies to address these disparities and achieve equitable vaccine distribution. Fixed site, accessible locations are one of many strategies the County is employing to reach communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Other strategies include small, pop-up vaccination sites that are mobile and can reach targeted populations or workplaces, clinic hours that extend into the evenings and weekends, extensive community outreach in multiple languages, providing robust information about vaccines, and high-touch assistance with scheduling appointments for communities most at risk.
The County Health System’s multifaceted approach to vaccine distribution is showing results. To date, County vaccine sites have administered nearly 177,000 first doses and almost 60,000 second doses, with nearly 60,000 appointments scheduled over the next seven days. Eighteen percent of Santa Clara County’s population age 16 or older has received at least one dose of vaccine.
“The County has made significant progress in vaccinating our residents and working with the community to make vaccines accessible for those most at risk,” said Dr. Rocío Luna, Deputy County Executive for the County of Santa Clara. “We will work tirelessly until we have achieved equitable access for those communities who have borne the brunt of the pandemic, but our limiting factor is vaccine supply. Our system stands ready, and we will continue to work with the State and Federal government to ensure that we have the supply to get our community vaccinated.”
Public health officials strongly advise everyone to continue to take steps to limit the spread of the virus. These actions include wearing a mask when leaving home, keeping a physical distance of at least six feet apart, avoiding non-essential travel, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine when you are eligible. This is all the more critical as County officials learned this week that three cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2, also known as the UK variant, have been detected in Santa Clara County, as part of specimens genomically sequenced by Stanford University laboratories. All three cases are from mid to late January, and two of them are from the same household. These cases were not travel-related and presumed to be community transmission.
Although these are the first cases of the UK variant to be detected in Santa Clara County, the variant has been presumed to already be in Santa Clara County after cases were detected last month in San Mateo and Alameda counties. Because the UK variant is more transmissible, this serves as a reminder that with case rates declining, we must still adhere to prevention measures.
Appointments for East Valley Clinic and other vaccination locations can be made through the County’s website at sccfreevax.org or by calling 211 if individuals need help scheduling.