Santa Clara Vaccine Supplies Drop as Vaccinations Requirements Loosen

As vaccination supplies drop in Santa Clara, vaccination requirements continue to loosen during the second week of Red Zone.

Displayed+here+are+vials+for+the+Moderna+and+Pfizer+vaccines%2C+both+of+which+require+two+doses+over+a+period+of+three+weeks.+Santa+Clara+County+seeks+to+limit+first-dose+appointments+in+order+to+conserve+vaccines+for+the+second+dose.+

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Displayed here are vials for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, both of which require two doses over a period of three weeks. Santa Clara County seeks to limit first-dose appointments in order to conserve vaccines for the second dose.

Jason Lin

On March 12, officials from the Santa Clara County Office of Education announced that all teachers and working K-12 public school facilities in Santa Clara County all received the opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine [SCC]. The development comes at a crucial time when cries for school reopening are growing among concerned students and parents. With teacher vaccinations underway, Santa Clara Health officials are urging schools to begin the process of reopening once all teachers are vaccinated. 

Furthermore, on March 4, California gave final approval for a 6.6 billion dollar K-12 school reopening plan [LATIMES]. The proposal allocates $2 billion in education funds for elementary schools that offer in-person learning in March. Schools that open in April will receive smaller grants, and schools that open May 15 after will receive no funds from the plan. The other $4.6 billion in the proposal will be allocated to school districts over the next 18 months for extra educational tutoring and summer camp sessions for students who need an opportunity to catch up. 

“The goal of this is to spur districts on the sidelines to act and also help that those that are already acting,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty [LATIMES]

As schools reopen and teacher vaccinations commence, new concern over unpredictably low vaccine doses has prompted Santa Clara County to halt all first-dose vaccine appointments [MERCURY]. Instead, Kaiser Permanente and similar actors with sufficient vaccines in stock will be handling new vaccinations [SCC]. The constraints will remain in effect until federal supplies for vaccines arrive in April and May. In the meantime, Santa Clara County health officials are prepared to limit new appointments and conserve vaccines for second dose appointments. 

County Executive Jeff Smith expressed frustration with the state about the vaccine delays, saying, “We don’t know where the decisions are being made about the allocations… the allocation decisions are being made by government ops and Blue Shield, so we don’t know how much the Blue Shield agreement influenced it, if at all.” [MERCURY]

As Santa Clara County moves into its second week of being in the Red Zone, vaccinations remain at the forefront of the county health agenda. Loosening vaccine restrictions and door-to-door vaccine notification operations have greatly expanded vaccine availability for those that need it most. However, concerns with vaccine supply have forced the prioritization of double-dose vaccinations over preliminary ones. Nevertheless, Santa Clara Clara health officials remain optimistic about the months to come and the continuing journey back to normalcy.