SIMITIAN PUSHES FOR COVID-19 BOOSTER SHOT PLANNING
Says, “Now is the time to get ready.”
SAN JOSE – This week, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian urged County staff and his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to move quickly in rolling out booster shots for eligible individuals who live or work in Santa Clara County. Simitian’s appeal was made amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the County.
At the Board of Supervisors August 17 meeting, the Board directed County staff (5-0 on Simitian’s motion) to provide a written report detailing the County-wide booster shot distribution plan to the Board of Supervisors at its September 14, 2021 meeting.
Simitian’s request was made in anticipation of an announcement by the Biden administration that it plans to offer booster shots starting September 20 to all Americans who got Pfizer or Moderna vaccines more than eight months ago. Simitian said, “Our County has to be prepared to dispense booster shots this fall to all who want them, as quickly as advisable.”
“For the past many months, I have been asking about booster shots. The answer was always, understandably, ‘Too soon to know; we’ll see how things develop.’ We’re now getting clear indication that a third dose may be advised to maintain a high level of immunity against the virus. That means we need to have a vaccine distribution plan in place here in Santa Clara County as quickly as we can.”
“We’ve learned a lot from the challenges of the past 18 months. We need to apply the lessons learned to a plan for County-wide booster availability. For better or worse we’ve got a fragmented system – multiple private healthcare providers, community clinics, pharmacies, and the County’s own Health and Hospital System. I want to make sure that when someone asks, ‘When, where, and how do I get a booster?’ there are good answers to those questions.”
Simitian noted that initial guidance seems to suggest the advisability of boosters eight months after initial vaccination. Given that some area residents started getting COVID-19 vaccinations late last fall, “That means we need a plan in place more or less immediately,” said Simitian.
County officials this week announced that a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is available for people who have a compromised immune system. Eligible individuals are encouraged to contact their primary healthcare provider for consideration of the additional dose. Appointments can also be scheduled through the County’s website, sccfreevax.org, which includes information about drop-in vaccination sites throughout the county, including local pharmacies.
Simitian said he is pleased with how far the County has come since launching its vaccine drive in November 2020. More than 80 percent of the County’s residents are vaccinated—one of the highest rates in the country. But, Simitian cautioned, this is not the time for complacency.
Santa Clara County has been experiencing its highest case count since February. Alarmingly, the Delta variant accounts for a vast majority of new cases, particularly within the County’s most vulnerable communities. As new strains emerge and cases continue to climb, COVID-19 booster shots will be necessary to maintain immunity against the coronavirus.
“I want us ahead of the curve,” Simitian noted.