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Santa Clara County makes sure COVID-19 vaccine doses don’t go to waste

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – With nowhere near enough vaccines to go around, it’s crucial that none is wasted.

So what happens to those extra doses when people fail to show up for their appointments to get the vaccine?

Santa Clara County Public Health says an uptick in people failing to show up for their vaccination appointments in recent days led to a situation where about 300 recently thawed doses were at risk of expiring.   

So as the lines were winding down Sunday, public health took to social media to announce that any county resident 65 or older who get down to the county fairgrounds by 3:30 could get the shot.   

Arriving too late to roll up his sleeve but happy that several colleagues in the county public defender’s office got the vaccine was supervising Attorney Gary Goodman.

“I have a feeling that in the past, you know, the month before whatever this has rolled out, that there were vaccines wasted. Now, I don’t know that for a fact but I have a feeling, the fact that nothing was wasted is great,” Goodman said.

In a statement, public health said:

“In situations where doses are thawed and would otherwise expire, the state’s guidelines place primary importance on using the vaccine.  The county health system has procedures to first offer the vaccine to those currently eligible and then subsequently move to county employees who are in the next eligible category and can timely respond to ensure no doses are wasted.”

Beyond outreach to the general public, the county is giving priority in these situations to its employees who work in congregate settings as well as others working in high-touch public outreach settings.

Included in that group are public defenders because they spend a lot of time in court, says Gary Goodman.

“We can’t do it over Zoom for it to be effective, we’re in a courtroom, I sit next to them. I sit within six-inches of my client and I’m there until those questions are answered,” Goodman said. “Even though I didn’t get it, I think I am the oldest who goes, and especially on a regular basis since the start, I’m nothing but happy that nothing was wasted.”

The same process is in place at Levi’s Stadium and other vaccination sites.  

Another example cited by the county is eligible vaccine site workers who have not yet been vaccinated. 

After that, extra doses are sent to hospitals for patients who are eligible.

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