Santa Clara County Public Health officials announced Tuesday that they are receiving tens of thousands of additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government. This distribution occurs when the county stops administering doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to extremely rare cases of blood clotting.
The recent distribution will allow Santa Clara County to vaccinate to its target of 200,000 residents a week.
Earlier, health officials said the only factor limiting the number of vaccines given was the lack of vaccines by the state. Officials celebrated the opening of a mass vaccination site at Levi Stadium in early February and said the site could hold 1
“We’ve been talking for a long time about the large capacity we have, and we just need the vaccine,” said Marty Fensterscheib, a COVID-19 testing officer. “Well, we will finally see a huge increase in the vaccine we receive and an increase in the appointments we will have available. This is a really big cornerstone for our community and the county’s efforts to provide vaccinations for all of our residents. “
The county will receive the doses through several of its federally qualified health centers. The first shipments of additional supplies of vaccines arrived on Tuesday morning, and government officials said they expected additional deliveries to arrive next week.
Officials also announced on Tuesday that anyone in Santa Clara County aged 16 and over could plan on getting a vaccine – two days earlier than the change in level required by the state.
The big break comes on the heels of news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating an extremely rare blood clotting symptom in six people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Santa Clara County is suspending administration of all Johnson and Johnson vaccines, while agencies are providing further clarification.
“Those who have had appointments (who would have), the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be accommodated by one of the other two vaccines available,” Fensterscheib said.
More than 60,000 people in Santa Clara County have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“It is very difficult to say categorically that this condition is vaccine-related, as it is a condition that we see in people who have never received the J&J vaccine,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, associate chief medical officer. center of Santa Clara. “So out of sheer caution, the CDC makes this recommendation.”
Fenstersheib said he wasn’t sure how many vaccines Johnson & Johnson had left in the county, but said there could be several thousand doses.
All six cases of blood clotting are among women between the ages of 18 and 48. The women had symptoms that appeared between six and 13 days after their vaccination. So far, only one death has been reported nationally, a 45-year-old woman in Virginia who died in mid-March two weeks after receiving the vaccine.
Fenstersheib said people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and developed severe headaches, stomach aches, leg pain or shortness of breath within the first three weeks of inoculation should visit their healthcare provider.
Contact Madeline Reese at [email protected] or follow @MadelynGReese on Twitter.