Less vaccine supply leads Santa Clara County to cancel more appointments

SANTA CLARA COUNTY – Health officials in Santa Clara County say they will not be able to significantly improve the “persistent inadequacy” coronavirus vaccine supply they are receiving from the state for “a few weeks”, forcing them to cancel thousands more first-dose appointments across the region.

“The more vaccines we need to dramatically expand, the more vaccines we need, and we’re ready and waiting for that,” County Executive Jeff Smith said in a statement Thursday.

County officials have continued to speed up the state’s vaccine rollout after insurer Blue Shield strongly opposed plans to run a state vaccination program.

Millions more Californians became eligible for the shot on Monday, and insufficient vaccine supply means many of them will not be able to schedule an appointment for weeks.

On Thursday, the county said it would reschedule “several thousand” Kaiser patients to cancel their first-dose vaccine appointments scheduled at county vaccination sites between March 22 and March 28.

Those patients will be transported to the Kaiser, which has been assured by the state that there will be adequate doses for its members, according to a county statement. The county also had to cancel the appointments of thousands of Kaiser patients earlier this month.

The county’s head of testing and vaccines, Marty Fenstershib, said the lack of adequate supplies from the state has disappointed everyone, especially those who are eligible for the vaccine and want to be vaccinated, but have been unable to sign up. , In a statement.

The county expects the vaccine supply to “grow significantly nationwide in a few weeks,” with Johnson and Johnson gaining a boost through additional shipments of the vaccine. The state promised earlier this month that a reliable flow of the vaccine would arrive in early April, but details about a possible delivery for that dose are slim.

“We want to see significant capacity built into full use, and as soon as the vaccine supply is approved, we will wait for the first dose appointment capacity to open more widely,” Smith said.

Despite the current shortage, the county said it is focusing on using a limited supply of its first dose shots to vaccinate “the most disproportionately affected communities” in the region, such as food service workers and farm workers in the southern county.

The county said it has vaccinated food and agricultural workers at Lucermerica Foods and Kawahra Nursery in Morgan Hill this week. On Friday, it will run a clinic in Gilroy in partnership with Olm Spice and the United Farm Workers Foundation, which will be open to other farm workers.

“The incidence of these vaccinations in food production facilities and farms in South County is critical to endangering our front-line workers,” said Deputy District County Executive Rocio Luna.

A special four-month investigation by the news organization found that Latinos White in six Gulf County counties have four times the case rate than White residents, and large disparities in testing and vaccinations continue.

“We will continue to do everything possible to ensure equal access to county vaccinations and to prioritize communities at greater risk,” Luna said.