SAN JOSE (KPIX) — Santa Clara County public health officials say their priority is getting as many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered to the healthcare workers and seniors in nursing homes who form the first wave of the vaccine rollout.
“Our priority is getting every single dose in somebody’s arm. We do not want to sit on any vaccine like we’ve heard in other communities,” say Dr. Marty Fenstersheib. Santa Clara County has received 105,630 doses of the two approved vaccines.
A county spokesperson says they are reasonably confident they will receive new shipments of vaccine in time to administer the scheduled second dose for the estimate 140,000 healthcare workers and seniors living in nursing homes.
The vaccine rollout in California overall has been somewhat rocky. The state has received nearly 1.8 million doses so far but has given fewer than a half million shots.
“It’s totally, totally disappointing. And shocking actually. I don’t think anyone expected it to be this bad. Even though there are vaccines sitting there, there aren’t the systems in place to implement them.,” says Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert with UCSF.
Dr. Chin-Hong says the federal government failed to thoroughly plan the logistics of vaccine distribution. That’s led to delays and a significant shortfall in the number of vaccines distributed in the month since they first became available.
“I’m waiting for the vaccine. The faster the government works on the vaccine the better. Everybody is waiting on the vaccine,” says Jorge Barragan outside a county testing site, in San Jose.
The county has relied on hospitals and healthcare systems to distribute the vaccine to their workers. They eventually plan to enlist pharmacists and dentist to give vaccine shots. The county also plans to open a large vaccination center for the public at the county fairgrounds.