Officials in Santa Clara County, the most populous county in the Bay Area, say they can’t expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine yet because there’s not enough supply.
“The biggest constraints we are facing right now is the availability of vaccines,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, associate chief medical officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. “We really need a stable supply to be able to predict our capacity and expand our capacity in the future.”
The vaccine is currently available to any health care provider, front-line worker or otherwise, who lives or works in the county and residents over 75. On Wednesday, Jan. 14, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that statewide eligibility for the vaccine would be expanded to include anyone over 65, but Santa Clara says it can’t accommodate that with its currently dwindling supply.
County Counsel James Williams said public health officials in Santa Clara were relying on the federal government to provide more vaccines to states, but that plan has since fallen apart.
“We learned a few days ago, for example, that the federal government was going to release stockpiles of vaccines that were being held for second doses,” Williams said. “We learned this morning no such stockpile exists.”
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospital and Clinics, the second-largest county-owned health and hospital system in the state, has provided more than 32,300 first doses and more than 6,590 second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The medical system currently has five vaccination sites, including two mass-vaccination sites in San Jose on Berger Drive and at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Officials plan to open another mass vaccination site in Mountain View next week.
For more information on vaccination availability in Santa Clara County, visit www.sccfreevax.org.