Santa Clara County opens vaccine Eligibility to ages 16+; pauses Johnson & Johnson per CDC guidance

Santa Clara County officials on Tuesday expanded vaccine eligibility for people aged 16 and up who live or work in the County. The move comes two days ahead of the planned April 16 eligibility date, and is due to a significant increase in vaccine supply coming directly from the federal government. Combined with the state’s allotment, there is “enough vaccine to reach our goal of protecting our entire community,” officials said.

With this expanded supply, the county has been able to open up tens of thousands of vaccine slots this week, and logistics are in place to vaccinate almost 30,000 people per day, said County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

The County is receiving more than 250,000 doses of Pfizer, and expects another 40,000 doses of Moderna – close to 4 to 5 times the supply we’ve been getting, according to County Supervisor Otto Lee. “Our County has ramped up capacity to be able to deliver over 200,000 vaccines per week,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. Please go ahead and sign up, and don’t wait.”

All individuals age 16 and up who live or work in Santa Clara County may now schedule appointments through the county website, Those without internet access can call 211 for assistance scheduling a vaccine appointment.

“Our objective is to get as many people in our community across the finish line as soon as possible,” Chavez said. “We are asking you to be patient and persistent. Our goal is to help you get vaccinated.”

The expansion comes as the County hits pause on distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following the recommendation of the CDC, the FDA, and the California Department of Public Health. Those currently scheduled for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be accommodated by one of the other vaccines available, officials said. The pause is due to blood clot related complications arising in 6 “extremely rare” cases among the 7 million administered to date across the country. All of the 6 cases were among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred between 6 and 14 days post-vaccine, officials said. None of the cases were in California. Approximately 60,000 residents in Santa Clara County have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to date. Officials said that for those who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine over a month ago, the risk is very low. Those who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine recently, in the past few weeks, should contact their health provider and seek medical treatment if they observe the following symptoms: severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, shortness of breath. Additional updates will be available following further guidance from federal and state health officers.

The County continues to ensure equity is a central component of its work, said County Public Information Officer Betty Duong, citing data revealing ongoing disparities across geographies, race and ethnicity.  The County’s programs to reach underserved populations with vaccine information and appointments address language barriers, transportation reliance and other issues, and include mobile stations, door to door outreach and communications outreach and support in five languages. These programs are delivering more than 1,000 vaccine appointments per week to Santa Clara County’s underserved population, Duong said.