Vaccinations Among Teens Drop as Spring Rolls into Summer

With daily temperatures warming up, Santa Clara finds itself in a precarious position of vaccine surplus and a lack of teen vaccinations.

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Paul Bersebach

Teen getting vaccinated at a local vaccination site; Image Courtesy of: https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/santa-clara-county-officials-urge-teens-young-adults-to-get-covid-19-vaccine/2533085/ and Paul Bersebach | MediaNews Group | Orange County Register via Getty Images

Jason Lin

With the start of May and the 2021 summer, Santa Clara is facing an interesting dilemma. The county is currently in a surplus of vaccines. 

“We have this precious amount of vaccine that other parts of the world don’t have and we need to use it and we need to protect ourselves to help with the whole global approach,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Officer for Santa Clara County.

As mentioned by Dr. Fenstersheib, Santa Clara health officials are worried about these vaccines going to waste. Storage of excess vaccines can prove to be costly and the maintenance of vaccines remains worrisome. Thus many are eager for the federal government to donate these vaccines to other regions of the world. 

“Urgently to get the vaccine there,” South Bay Congressman Ro Khanna said. “Not just the Astra Zeneca but to license the Moderna and Pfizer formulas, so India can start to make the vaccines.”

To increase vaccinations, Santa Clara is investing in various pop-up sites throughout the county that do not require an appointment. Santa Clara County officials are also worried about the discrepancy in vaccinations among communities. More than 72 percent of Santa Clara County residents over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, yet teens remain a vaccinated minority.

Teen vaccinations are an especially great concern because of the up-and-coming summer break, as well as graduations. To avoid another spike in cases, Santa Clara health officials are scrambling to get teens vaccinated. 

“We have prioritized the lowest vaccinated census tracts for our mobile pop up clinics and door to door canvassing,” said Dr. Rocio Luna, Deputy County Executive for the County of Santa Clara. “Our mobile clinics have delivered more than 45,000 doses of vaccine at over 100 sites, and we’re also locating clinics at schools and offering incentives for youth to get vaccinated.” 

For the latest information about vaccines, visit the County’s vaccine website at sccfreevax.org.  

With the vaccination rates plummeting across the US, herd immunity and a return to normalcy are progressively falling out of reach. Yet the significant reduction in deaths and infections because of vaccinations has been an inspiration for a country eager to reopen. The finish line is in sight and public health officials are stepping on the gas to move Santa Clara there.

“Don’t wait any longer to do this,” Fenstersheib said. “Every vaccinated person gets us ever closer to protecting our community and saving lives and getting back to normal. That’s what we all want.”