Santa Clara County Gives Out Leftover Vaccines After People No Show for Appointments

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They may not be health care workers or age 65 and older, but on Saturday dozens of Santa Clara County employees received a COVID-19 vaccine.

That’s because people with appointments aren’t showing up, and the vaccines could go to waste.

The county said it had more than 300 doses of the vaccine that were set to expire Sunday, so it put out a call late Saturday afternoon for county workers to go to the fairgrounds to get a last-minute vaccine.

It paid off. Brett Hammond, a county public defender, said just 20 minutes after arriving at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, he got a vaccine.

“I’m thrilled,” he said. “My mom lives 10 minutes from me and I have not been able to hug her for a year. So I can reunite with my family. But I don’t think it should have taken being alerted at 4 p.m. on a Saturday that there are extra doses. I think public defenders should get it because they have so much exposure.”

He and other county employees who are not age 65 and older and not healthcare workers in the currently eligible tier received vaccines.

The Public Health Department said because of an increase in the no show rate over the past two to three days, it had an excess of about 300 doses that had been thawed and were set to expire if they weren’t used.

Santa Clara County had extra vaccine doses available Saturday and made an announcement via Twitter that anyone age 65 and over who could get to the fairgrounds by 3:30 p.m. could get a shot.

The county said it has procedures to first offer the vaccine to those currently eligible, which is why it alerted the public of available appointments at the fairgrounds in a tweet today.

Then it moves to “county employees who are in the next eligible category and can timely respond to ensure no doses are wasted.”

Craig Ferguson, a 64-year-old San Jose resident, said he is not a county employee but he did get a shot.

He said his city council representative told him there may be extra vaccines.

“I said it’s worth the shot, so I came down here and I got the shot,” Ferguson said.

Dozens of those who rushed down to the fairgrounds to get a vaccine were turned away because they ran out. The county said no vaccines went to waste.

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