FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2021
Successful Vaccine Outreach Efforts Have Been Hampered by Low Supply and Unpredictable Allocation from the State
Santa Clara County, CA – Despite being hindered by low vaccine supply, the County of Santa Clara is continuing to expand its outreach to communities most impacted by COVID-19, setting wheels in motion to get all residents vaccinated as easily and quickly as possible.
Starting this week, the County has added 30 full-time canvassers to its Community Health and Business Engagement Team, ensuring at least 60 people who will be knocking on doors in high-risk neighborhoods each day to provide vaccine education and scheduling. Last week, the outreach workers scheduled more than 1,000 appointments over three days for residents in these areas. This is in addition to 2,000 agricultural workers who were vaccinated through the County’s targeted partnerships with local agricultural employers in Morgan Hill and Gilroy. In the past two weeks, the County has opened four more ongoing vaccination sites in East San José and South County, areas most severely impacted by the pandemic, including a mass vaccination site at Eastridge Mall in partnership with Stanford Health Care.
These are all part of ongoing, data-driven efforts to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, County officials say.
“We are all facing immense challenges during this time, but some community members are shouldering the worst of this public health crisis,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director of Public Health for the County of Santa Clara. “We need a vaccine distribution system that works for all of us, not just some of us. This is not only the right thing to do, it is also our way out of this pandemic.”
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, the County has long recognized and worked to address inequities for communities at greatest risk of health disparities. Knowing the pandemic has deepened this problem, County leaders continue to prioritize strategies to bring services, testing, and vaccine information to those who need it most where they live and work. Efforts are focused on communities of color, essential workers at high risk, and sectors with hard-to-reach workers.
All this remains true, even as the State has not provided sufficient vaccines for our region. The low and unpredictable supply has created many logistical challenges for the County, leading to the postponement of vaccination clinics for farm workers this week, reductions in capacity at the educator-focused clinic, and reduction in the number of appointments available to eligible community members.
“Many people, community groups, and organizations have been working tirelessly to quickly scale up capacity for vaccine distribution, so we are very disappointed by these setbacks,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. “As soon as the State can get us more vaccines, we are ready to get them to all of our residents, especially those who have been most impacted by this virus.”
Despite supply challenges, healthcare providers across the county have administered at least 338,589 first doses of vaccine, vaccinating 21 percent of residents over age 16. The County Health System has administered more than half of these doses. The County reminds the community that even as more people are vaccinated, everyone needs to continue practicing proven measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing masks and physical distancing.
County officials will provide information about the vaccine rollout, the County’s equity efforts, and these challenges to the Board of Supervisors around 1pm this afternoon. Livestream coverage of the meeting is available at this link.
Visit the County’s COVID-19 vaccine website, sccfreevax.org, for the latest updates on vaccine eligibility and distribution.
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