A big push is underway to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations across California.
The state has received more than 2 million doses, but only 780,000 have been administered so far.
Health officials said pharmacies at some Safeway and Rite Aid stores in Contra Costa County will begin administering vaccines this week. It will be by appointment and only for those in the eligible tiers.
"We see this vaccine effort as the highest priority for Contra Costa County and there is nothing that we’re focused more on right now than vaccinating our residents from COVID-19 quickly, safely and efficiently," Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth said.
Contra Costa County health officials said they’re determined to step things up. With COVID-19 surging, they’re now aiming to vaccinate 7,000 people a day.
"Our goal is to not have vaccine sitting around in our freezers," Contra Costa County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Ori Tzvieli said. "Our goal is to have it all in arms as soon as it comes in."
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday unveiled a public service campaign, saying the state will be opening up mass vaccination sites, tapping into the California National Guard. The effort includes the49ers offering up Levi's Stadium, the A's offering up the Oakland Coliseum and a drive-thru vaccination clinic opening at the San Mateo County Event Center in San Mateo.
Newsom has also given dentists the green light to become vaccinators.
"We have the education and training," Dr. Ariane Terlet, a dentist, said. "We give injections all day long. We give injections in the mouth versus the arm."
Health care workers are now getting their second vaccine doses. They believe vaccinations are the key to turning things around.
Intensive care unit nurse Elizabeth Sy knows first hand the suffering the virus continues to cause.
"Every day that I’m with someone and trying to tell them that we can set up a FaceTime app for them to see their person when they're dying, every time I volunteer to be the last person holding their hand," she said.