After weeks of bitter negotiations, Santa Clara County has signed an agreement with the state that would allow the county to retain control over local COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
It’s a big deal because over the past several weeks, the vaccine rollout has caused a lot of confusion and frustration over who gets a shot and where they can get it.
“I wasn’t really sure I was eligible yet by reading the page so I called them,” said Yolanda Martinez of Concord.
She is scheduled to get her vaccine in four days but the process was a little confusing for her but not for blaine rogers.
“It wasn't for me because it was prearranged,” said Blaine Rogers of Concord. “It wasn’t complicated for us, it may be complicated for a lot of people.”
That’s why seven Bay Area health directors sent a letter to the state, requesting that they be able to retain local control over COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
The move comes after persistent criticism of California's plan to have Blue Shield manage the distribution of doses.
The goal was for Blue Shield to streamline the process, but the MyTurn website had problems. Under the latest agreement, Blue Shield continues to manage the delivery of vaccines to the counties.
Santa Clara County signed the agreement late Wednesday.
“If you live in Santa Clara County and you wanted to be vaccinated we can make sure that can happen,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
That’s important for Santa Clara County because of what happened earlier this month. It was forced to cancel thousands of second-dose appointments due to a miscommunication.
Chavez says part of the problem was having to cut through the red tape and the technical problems with the MyTurn website.
Now residents and workers can continue using the county’s appointment sign up system, and Chavez believes it will help get the vaccine to the public faster.
“We’ll be able to go to your home with a mobile unit. We can do pop up sites as the vaccines became available we can meet that need at a local level,” said Chavez.
Other counties including Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin counties also plan to sign the agreement.
Health officials in Marin County say they got on board with the other Bay Area health directors to make sure people of color have access to the vaccine.
“Being able to have control and provide appointments to the hard to reach groups was another factor in us reaching equitable vaccine distribution,” said Laine Hendricks, Marin County spokesperson.
The goal however in Santa Clara County is to get everyone vaccinated by mid summer.