A mass COVID-19 vaccination site opened Tuesday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, with Gov. Gavin Newsom, representatives of the San Francisco 49ers and Santa Clara County officials on hand to make it official.
Five hundred people received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. On Wednesday, 1,000 people are expected to get vaccinated. Eventually, the hope is that 15,000 vaccines will be administered daily.
Joan Tambling’s first visit to Levi's Stadium was a memorable one, not just because she's a 49ers fan, but because the 89-year-old from San Jose got vaccinated.
"I feel like my life can get back on schedule," she said.
The stadium vaccination hub requires appointments and will serve Santa Clara County residents 65 and older and county health workers in the state's current tier of eligibility.
Levi's was one of the first NFL stadiums to be approved as a mass vaccination site before the league stepped up last week to offer up all 30 of its venues in the effort to get millions of Americans vaccinated.
The announcement by the 49ers and Santa Clara County on Friday called it California’s largest vaccination site.
"By opening this site we're taking a huge step forward in bringing an end to this pandemic," 49ers team president Al Guido said Tuesday. "The county of Santa Clara and the 49ers are both committed to ensuring this site is safe, efficient and equitable. Here at the 49ers, we know the value of teamwork, and opening this site would not be possible without many players working together on behalf of our community."
Newsom said the only barrier in the effort to vaccinate all Californians is supply. He indicated, based on his weekly call with the Biden administration, the state would be receiving a little more than 1 million vaccine doses over the next three weeks.
Santa Clara County Associate Health Director Dr. Jennifer Tong said the County Health system has administered more than 113,000 first doses to date and has more than 40,000 appointments in the coming week. An additional 100,000 first shots have been given by other health providers across the county, Tong said.
She also spoke about the challenges presented by lack of supply.
"We sincerely hope we are able to continue to maintain 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."
People with appointments will park their cars in the main parking lot and walk into the stadium. There will be transportation available for the elderly and disabled to get them from their cars to the stadium.
The site will be staffed and operated by the County of Santa Clara Health System, officials said.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, eligibility and distribution in Santa Clara County, visit sccfreevax.org.