County Urges All Healthcare Workers to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Jan. 8, 2021

Most Hospital Workers Have Already Been Vaccinated; Countywide Capacity for Vaccinations Ramping Up with All Large Healthcare Systems in the County Providing Vaccines to Eligible Healthcare Workers

Santa Clara County, CA More than 47,000 healthcare workers in Santa Clara County have received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccines and healthcare systems throughout the county began administering second doses of the vaccines this week. With the California Department of Public Health’s announcement expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to all healthcare personnel under any tier of Phase 1A, healthcare systems throughout the county are expanding capacity and working tirelessly to ensure that all eligible individuals receive the vaccine expeditiously as new shipments arrive each week.

This expanded effort will build on early successes rolling out vaccinations for the first tiers of Phase 1A throughout the county. “Healthcare systems throughout the county have made great progress in vaccinating staff in the first tiers of Phase 1A despite the fact that we are in the midst of an extremely difficult surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and the first vaccine shipments arrived over the holidays,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Public Health Director for the County of Santa Clara. “We’re very happy that the state has expanded the eligibility for vaccination to all healthcare workers, and we urge those individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

There are an estimated 140,000 healthcare workers in Santa Clara County, and distribution is guided by a phased and tier-based system as set by the federal and state government. Under Phase 1A, the first tier focused on hospital staff, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, medical first responders, and dialysis centers. The second and third tiers add home healthcare workers and those in intermediate care facilities, community health workers (including promotoras), public health field staff, primary care clinic workers, workers at specialty clinics, lab workers, dental clinics, and pharmacy staff.

The County of Santa Clara is working with large healthcare systems and other partners across the county to facilitate access to vaccines for healthcare personnel who are not being offered vaccination directly through their employer. To schedule a vaccination appointment, healthcare personnel should contact their health care provider if they are a patient of Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Stanford Healthcare, or Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospitals and Clinics. Healthcare workers who are not patients of those entities can be vaccinated through the County’s Health and Hospital system, or through other providers including El Camino Health. To learn more about scheduling appointments and other vaccine information, visit the County’s website. All vaccinations are currently appointment-based only. As more doses arrive each week, healthcare systems will continue adding appointments to meet demand and get the vaccine to eligible healthcare workers.

To date, healthcare systems throughout the county have received 110,280 first doses and 17,320 second doses of COVID-19 vaccines, plus additional deliveries directly to multi-county entities, such as Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health. Residents of long-term care facilities in the county are receiving their vaccinations through the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.

“We’re very pleased to see that the early rollout of the vaccine has offered protection to so many of our most essential and most at-risk workers,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Otto Lee. “Now the pool just got larger, and the County and other healthcare system partners are ramping up to meet this increased demand.”

“We are opening various clinic-based sites around the County and anticipate opening additional mass-vaccination facilities in the near future,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospitals and Clinics. “As more doses become available and more people are eligible for vaccination, Valley Medical Center stands ready to meet the need in partnership with other healthcare systems throughout the county.” The County’s healthcare system alone expects to reach 4,000 vaccinations per day by the end of next week, with additional capacity expected to come online in the weeks to come.

As soon as people eligible to be vaccinated in Phase 1A have been offered the vaccine, the state will allow counties to begin vaccinating people in Phase 1B, which includes people 75 years of age or older and “frontline essential workers.” To ensure that the vaccine broadly reaches those populations hardest hit by the pandemic, the County has convened a stakeholder group to inform equitable distribution and access to the vaccine, among other strategies. For additional breakdown of phases and frequently asked questions, visit the County’s website.

County officials continue to urge adherence to all social distancing and mask protocols as the vaccines are rolled out to more and more individuals.

“Please, please don’t let down your guard when we at last see a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Officer for the County of Santa Clara. “Our progress thus far in vaccinating our healthcare workforce brings us great hope, but we must remain vigilant until most of our community has been vaccinated. We all need to work together to get through this, but we will get there.”

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