Santa Clara County public health officials said Thursday they began offering 6,000 Pfizer coronavirus vaccines to workers at skilled nursing facilities to protect them and the patients they care for.
The county launched a clinic with the capacity to vaccinate up to 210 people a day and eventually scale up, officials said. The clinic will operate seven days a week and will stay open for future vaccine distribution to other people as they become eligible.
All 210 appointment slots were filled for the first day Thursday.
Five percent of COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County are in long-term care facilities, but they account for 45% of all COVID-19 deaths, county officials said.
"This vaccine is a bright light at the end of a very, very dark year. Over 550 people have died from COVID-19 in our community so far, which is devastating," Dr. Sara Cody, the county's health officer, said in statement. "Every single one of us needs to act as if the virus is still all around us, because it is. The vaccine gives us all hope, but as it is rolled out, we all need to do our part to help keep more of our local families whole. We must stay the course and redouble our efforts to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our community."
The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in the county earlier this week and were designated for people in the highest risk categories, including those who work in health care and those who live or work in certain types of nursing homes or long-term care facilities, the county said.
The county has more information about vaccine allocation, requirements and timelines on its website.