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Santa Clara County Gives First Numbers for Distributing Vaccine Next Week

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Santa Clara County, with its health care system under severe stress due to a relentless surge of coronavirus infections, is seeing just a glimmer of hope in the scheduled arrival of a small number of coronavirus vaccine doses next week.

The county anticipates receiving its first allocation of 17,500 doses out of California's initial allotment of 327,000 around Dec. 15, said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County's COVID-19 testing officer, on Monday. The Food and Drug Administration is holding a meeting Dec. 10 to discuss emergency authorization of the vaccine, developed by Pfizer.

The first doses will be earmarked for acute health care workers in hospitals, followed by residents of skilled nursing facilities, Fenstersheib said, in accordance with federal and state guidelines. Hospitals will be responsible for vaccinating their own staff, and the county has purchased the freezers necessary to accommodate the very low temperature required to store the vaccine.

Looking ahead to the arrival of the Moderna vaccine, which is the subject of another FDA emergency authorization meeting, on Dec. 17, as well as to other vaccines in the pipeline, Fenstersheib said the expansion of vaccine distribution to other high-risk residents and then the general public would continue "probably well into spring and summer."

Also on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state expects to receive more than 2 million doses of vaccines from multiple manufacturers by the end of December.

"I expect and I really believe this: You're going to start getting good news and numbers that continue to significantly increase over the weeks, not just months, in terms of the availability of vaccinations," Newsom said.

County health officials said that the 1,450 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday shattered the record set last week. Officials said hospitals are canceling elective surgeries, and nurses are being reassigned in order to care for critically ill patients

—Jon Brooks (@jbrooksfoy)

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