As mass-vaccination site launches at Levi’s Stadium, Newsom decries lack of supply
A large-scale vaccination site opened Tuesday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, with a goal of inoculating 15,000 people daily.
A mass-vaccination site launched Tuesday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, where 15,000 people are expected to be inoculated each day once vaccine supplies increase.
A joint effort between the San Francisco 49ers, who play their home games at the stadium, and the Santa Clara public health system, the site will start by offering about 5,000 shots a day, county officials said. NFL officials earlier this month offered all of their stadiums to the federal government to be used as vaccine-distribution sites, the Associate Press reported.
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Appointments at Levi’s Stadium are open to residents who are 65 and over, regardless of where they typically get their healthcare, in addition to healthcare workers who live or work in the county, said Dr. Jennifer Tong, associate chief medical officer for Santa Clara County Valley Medical Center, at a news conference held at the stadium just before opening its doors.
Weekend and evening appointments will be available to accommodate those who work, she added. The site will be operated by the county’s public health system, and the 49ers organization will contribute resources and support officials said last week.
So far, the county health system has administered roughly 113,000 first doses, and other local providers in the county have given an additional 100,000 shots. More than 40,000 people have made reservations for a shot through the county’s system this week, Tong said.
The site marks the fourth large-scale vaccination site in the county, she added. It could become the largest vaccine hub in the state if it meets its goal of doling out 15,000 shots a day.
Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium, home of L.A.'s Rams and Chargers, has offered its facility to support local and state vaccination efforts, said Kristi Mexia, spokeswoman for the stadium. At least seven clubs are already using their stadiums as vaccine sites, including the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots, according to AP.
Like other municipalities across the state — and the country — Santa Clara County’s efforts are dependent on vaccine availability. Supply has consistently lagged behind demand.
“We sincerely hope that we’re able to continue maintaining this capacity, and that it’s not disrupted by decreases in our vaccine allocation, by decisions that are beyond our local control here,” Tong said. “We have built both the infrastructure and the human power to get vaccines in arms as quickly as possible.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom, who spoke at the news conference, underscored the issue: “So when you ask me, ‘What are we doing to vaccinate this group? That group? What about this group? What about that group?’ It’s an issue now of scarcity. It’s an issue of supply.”
Nationally, the weekly vaccine allocation is set to rise soon by 500,000 doses, from 10.5 million to 11 million, Newsom said. That equates to roughly 50,000 additional doses for California, he said.
“That’s not enough,” Newsom said .
California’s weekly allotment is not expected to increase substantially and the state is expected to receive another shipment of a little over 1 million doses, Newsom said, adding that roughly 40% of the allocation will be set aside for people awaiting their second dose.
Coronavirus cases in the state dropped dramatically over the past month, the governor said, highlighting a bright spot amid the vaccine shortage. On Jan. 9, the state reported 53,000 cases, Newsom said. By Feb. 9, that number dropped to just over 8,200. The seven-day positivity rate has fallen from 14% to 4.8% during the same timeframe, he added. COVID-19 continues to claim nearly 500 lives a day, he said, calling it “remarkably high,” though that figure is also declining.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.