SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) --Health officials in Santa Clara County said they would be ready to distribute COVID-19 vaccine boosters in the coming weeks. Meanwhile a new "Vax Mobile" has been unveiled to reach scores of county residents who are still not vaccinated.
County leaders are expecting a smooth rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, given past experience with administering 1.4 million doses to South Bay residents.
"For any of you who've gotten a shot, you know that it was a pretty efficient enterprise after we got our sea legs settled. And my expectation is that this will be much smoother, frankly, because we've had the experience we've had already," said Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
Nearly 86% of Santa Clara County residents 12 and older have received at least one dose, the highest rate of any urban county in the U.S.
However, 300,000 eligible residents have still not received the vaccine. The county is formulating plans to take that segment into account, as demand for the vaccine will rise again this fall and winter, when waves of people will become eligible for the booster shot.
The Board of Supervisors will hear more details about the plan August 31.
"We still have this 300,000 people that we really want to get vaccinated. Then we're going to have children that are going to be getting their first opportunity to be vaccinated, and that'll be between 5 and 11. And we're going to have the booster shots on top of that," said Chavez.
President Joe Biden's announcement that booster shots will become widely available to everyone starting September 20, comes as Santa Clara County debuted its new "Vax Mobile", a custom-designed van specially equipped to administer hundreds of doses per day across the South Bay.
Believed to be the first of its kind in the country, the Vax Mobile features freezer storage, sink and faucet, solar panels, shade awning, and counter workspace. The van is significant upgrade from the unmarked makeshift vehicles currently used by county healthcare staff that can be less efficient.
Michael Elliott, interim CEO of the Valley Medical Foundation, said the van was designed to go virtually anywhere, be easily identifiable, and to increase convenience for the unvaccinated.
"Seeing it available right there and then. You know what? 'I'm going to go get it. This is easy. I don't have to schedule an appointment. It's right there to find where to go. I'm going to do it right now.'" said Elliott.
Bloom Energy led the fundraising effort, and gathered $125,000 in private donations from various academic institutions, health care providers, and corporations.
Carl Guardino, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy for Bloom Energy, urged Silicon Valley Companies to find ways to contribute.
"What companies need in their day-to-day global work of trying to run good companies that can compete globally, is just that extra knowledge that there are needs right here in our own backyard, in our own communities. That with just a little direction, and a little healthy competition, we can do so much more," said Guardino.
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