FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2021
County Officials Provide Updates Regarding Expanded Eligibility and Vaccine Misinformation
Santa Clara County, CA – With the rapid expansion of capacity at vaccination sites throughout the county and following extensive outreach to healthcare workers eligible for vaccination in Phase 1A, County officials announced today that several healthcare providers in Santa Clara County are expanding access to COVID-19 vaccination to include individuals age 75 and older. Individuals age 75 and older who receive their primary care through the County’s Health and Hospital System can now register for appointments through links available on the County’s website at sccfreevax.org. Other systems, including Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Stanford, and Kaiser expect to expand access to vaccine appointments to their older patients in Santa Clara County soon. Information on how to schedule an appointment with any of these providers is available at sccfreevax.org.
The County is partnering with community stakeholders to ensure that those eligible for vaccination living in our most heavily impacted and hardest-to-reach communities receive information and outreach on vaccine eligibility and how to schedule appointments.
Expanded access to COVID-19 vaccines for Santa Clara County residents 75 and older follows constantly changing direction and guidance to counties and healthcare providers from the State of California and the federal government. An added challenge faced by healthcare providers in expanding access to persons 75 and older is access to sufficient vaccine, and the lack of information from the state and federal government about how much additional vaccine they will receive in the coming weeks. When the providers in the county have an increased supply of vaccine, we expect healthcare providers will expand eligibility further.
County officials also shared more information regarding misinformation on vaccine appointment availability circulating in Santa Clara County and elsewhere in California. Community members have been receiving messages with links to schedule vaccine appointments at County sites suggesting that they are available to anyone. It appears that members of the public copied direct links to the State’s PrepMod system for scheduling appointments at various sites around the state, including many operated by the County. These direct links allowed members of the public to bypass a questionnaire that first confirms that a person meets eligibility requirements for the vaccine before being allowed to schedule an appointment. The ability to bypass that questionnaire and register for an appointment even if eligibility criteria are not met is a very significant deficiency of the State’s PrepMod scheduling program. We understand the State is working to resolve this and other issues with the system. In the meantime, the County has sent messages to every person with an upcoming vaccine appointment that they should cancel the appointment if they are ineligible, and they will be turned away when they arrive if they do not meet eligibility criteria.
The County has also learned of other vaccine-related scams circulating in the community. The County reminds all residents that no one will be asked to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine or access to any vaccine waiting lists, and that potential scams could come in the form of online advertisements on social media, through email, telephone calls, or from unsolicited or unknown sources.
The County’s website at sccfreevax.org is the official source for vaccine-related information in Santa Clara County, and is regularly updated to reflect which community members are currently eligible to receive the vaccine, as well as how those individuals can schedule appointments.
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County of Santa Clara Website: http://www.sccgov.org/coronavirus
Public Health Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sccpublichealth