race for a vaccine

Contra Costa County Races to Vaccinate All Seniors as Quickly as Possible

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When it comes to vaccinating seniors, Contra Costa County appears to be leading the way.

The county has vaccinated 70% of seniors 75 and older and is determined to get to 100%.

"I thought they were just going to let us seniors wither away, but they’re doing pretty good, better than I thought they would, especially in this county," David Henderson, 79, said.

David and his wife Alice got their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. David has underlying health conditions, making him especially high-risk.

"I had three heart attacks, diabetes, cancer, bad breath and a shark bite," he said.

That’s why Contra Costa County has been laser focused on vaccinating the most vulnerable.

"Close to 80% of the deaths from COVID-19 are over the age of 65," Dr. Sara Levin with Contra Costa County Health Services said. "These are our community members, our loved ones, our most cherished elders that are dying from COVID-19 infection."

Not only is the county holding vaccination clinics across the county, it's taking those clinics to seniors' homes. Six mobile units have been visiting nursing homes, residential care facilities and low-income senior housing apartments.

"For the ones that can’t even get out of bed, we'll go up to their rooms," Levin said. "In the case of low-income senior housing apartments, go up to their apartments and do the vaccinations right there on site."

The county said it’s now held first dose clinics at 100% of its skilled nursing facilities, 90% of its residential care centers and 57% of the county’s affordable senior housing units.

Seniors said they’re grateful.

"To us, the vaccine is like the icing on the cake," John Tenney, 75, said. "The distancing and the masks seem like they’ve been the really important things to do all this time so we don’t see any reason to change it."

David and Alice Henderson say they’re happy they live in a county that’s leading the way in protecting seniors.

"That’s why we don’t even like to go across the bridges because in other towns and counties you never know," Alice said.

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