December 17, 2020

Santa Clara County Public Health Department vaccinates skilled nursing staff to protect facility residents

Santa Clara County, CA – The first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine are being offered to 6,000 skilled nursing facility staff in Santa Clara County to protect them, and the elderly and vulnerable patients in their care, who are more likely to have severe illness and die from COVID-19. In Santa Clara County, five percent of COVID-19 cases are in long-term care facilities, however they account for 45 percent of all COVID-19 deaths. The County of Santa Clara has established a clinic with the capacity to vaccinate up to 210 individuals every day, with capacity to scale up. The clinic will operate seven days per week and will be one of many methods used for future vaccine distribution to additional community members as they become eligible. All 210 appointment slots were filled for the first day of vaccinations on December 17, 2020.

“This vaccine is a bright light at the end of a very, very dark year. Over 550 people have died from COVID-19 in our community so far, which is devastating,” said Dr. Sara Cody, County of Santa Clara Health Officer and Director of the Public Health Department. “Every single one of us needs to act as if the virus is still all around us, because it is. The vaccine gives us all hope, but as it is rolled out, we all need to do our part to help keep more of our local families whole. We must stay the course and redouble our efforts to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our community.”

The vaccine has been rigorously evaluated for safety and efficacy by the Federal government and the state of California. “People who get vaccinated can expect common and mild side effects such as tiredness or soreness, that last for one or two days,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, County of Santa Clara COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Officer.

The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in the county earlier this week. These early doses are for people in the highest risk categories, as set by the state and federal government. The people eligible for the first doses are those at risk of getting COVID-19 because they work in health care or because they live or work in certain types of nursing homes or long-term care facilities. 

Even with the hopeful news of the first vaccinations in Santa Clara County, it is more critical than ever that every community member continue to follow all public health guidance and orders, which include staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, and not gathering. It will take at least several months for our community to reach a level of vaccination to protect the population as a whole. The County will continue to communicate the latest information regarding the vaccine to the public and strongly encourages all residents to get the vaccine when it is available to them.

The County continues to receive information from the State of California about vaccine allocation, requirements, and timelines. More information about COVID-19 vaccines is available on the County’s website.

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