SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Santa Clara County has received nearly 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines which are being given to first responders and others in the highest risk categories, and county officials encouraged people to maintain their vigilance as more vaccinations roll out.

The county Public Health Department said Thursday that healthcare providers have received 40.605 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 54,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Santa Clara County COVID Testing and Vaccine Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said the vaccines are giving health officials hope as the challenging year draws to a close.

“Wanted to give an update on what I think is somewhat of a light at the end of the tunnel for us. Some hope for the end of the year as we continue to receive more vaccines,” said Dr. Fenstersheib.

At the same time, the county again urged people not to gather for New Year’s Eve celebrations as the latest surge has ICU capacity in the county at a critically low 8%.

“We are still extremely worried about a surge of cases from the December holidays on top of our existing surge,” said Dr. Ahmad Kamal, Director of Healthcare System Preparedness for the County of Santa Clara. “We implore the community not to compound their risk with additional exposure to ring in the New Year.”

“We want people to still be patient. Having some people be vaccinated is not a pass for people to start taking off their masks and acting as though the virus is under control,” said Fenstershieb. “It won’t be under control until we have a high level of herd immunity, meaning up to 80% or more of our community is vaccinated before we feel safe enough to remove our masks.”

Currently, the county is in Phase 1A of the COVID vaccine rollout for all healthcare personnel, and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

The next phase of vaccinations, 1B, will be in two tiers:

  • Tier 1: People ages 75+, frontline essential workers, teachers, law enforcement, food and agriculture, emergency services
  • Tier 2: People ages 65-74, other frontline essential workers, such as manufacturing, transportation, facilities and services, those in congregate settings, incarcerated, people experiencing homelessness

“Stay vigilant everyone. Your time will come,” said Fenstershieb.

As of December 29, Santa Clara County has seen a total of 67,423 COVID-19 cases, with an average of 1,300 new cases a day. There have been 709 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths to date, officials said.