SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Santa Clara County health officials warned this week of unofficial texts inviting residents to make a vaccination appointment in the county.
The texts wrongfully claim an “extra” supply of vaccines. They also provide a link to register for one of the county’s vaccination sites.
To the county’s knowledge, someone was able to access the link that goes to the state’s vaccination platform, CalVax, and texted that link to an untold amount of people.
“We know this because we had a huge amount of people show up to Berger [vaccination site] who didn’t have an appointment and they told us they were able to get on the appointment list by getting access to CalVax without going through our typical system,” County Executive Jeff Smith said.
Smith said a link is given to those who are eligible for vaccination only after they have completed a declaration that they meet priority requirements.
Right now, that means people who are in Phase 1A, which includes health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.
The county expects to move into vaccinating those in Phase 1B tier 1 — those over 75 years and older and other essential frontline workers.
County officials said they are investigating the erroneous text messages. Smith said whoever sent it did not hack the system and instead was able to “inappropriately” get access to the link.
The county’s vaccination systems and information are secure, Smith assured the county’s board of supervisors on Tuesday.
Santa Clara County public health officials also warned on Tuesday that they are facing two interconnected challenges that could imperil their efforts to quickly distribute a potentially lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine: distribution capacity and supply uncertainty.
“We really need to have a major focus on vaccinating the people who are at highest risk,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib. “That will make the biggest impact on preventing serious illness and death in out community.”
Public health officials acknowledged in a Tuesday update provided to county supervisors that the rollout of the vaccine has been far slower than they anticipated or hoped. So far, roughly 52,000 people have received their initial dose of the vaccine — fewer than 2,000 a day on average.
The Public Health Department estimates on average 13,000 people would need to be vaccinated per day non-stop for the next seven months to reach the state’s goal of vaccinating everyone older than 16 years old by August 1.
To access more vaccine information for Santa Clara County, people can visit sccfreevax.org.
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