Contra Costa health officials provide COVID-19 vaccination update

Contra Costa health officials provide update on COVID-19 vaccinations
Photo credit: U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

About 300,000 Contra Costa County residents will soon become eligible for COVID-19 immunization, after public health officials said Monday they expect to complete vaccinations of residents within the highest priority groups within the next two weeks.

In the three weeks since vaccine doses began arriving in the County, all but 1,400 of the 43,675 doses allocated in Contra Costa have been delivered for administration to the highest priority groups, which include healthcare workers who are at high risk of exposure to the virus, as well as people who live and work in care facilities with residents who are at high risk for serious illness from an infection, according to Dr. Ori Tzvieli, Deputy Health Officer and COVID Operations Chief.

“In the next two weeks, we will finish vaccinating the first groups… and begin vaccinating the next eligible groups, which include about 300,000 county residents,” Dr. Tzvieli said. 

The next eligible groups include people over age 75 and essential workers, such as teachers, child care workers, police officers and grocery workers, he said.

As more resident become eligible for immunizations, health care providers in Contra Costa will let their members and patients know how to make vaccination appointments.

Public officials officials aim to vaccinate at least 725,000 County residents over age 16 in the first six months, or 80 percent of the County’s population above age 16.

To reach that goal, the County needs to administer about 7,000 vaccine shots per day. The County started off delivering hundreds of vaccines daily but is currently up to 3,000 daily.

“We plan to double that until we get to our goal,” Roth said.

While every dose sent to Contra Costa County will be gone in two weeks time, more are arriving every week. The County is currently administering vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna and expects additional vaccines to come to the market in the coming weeks and months.

“We are at the beginning of the biggest public health immunization campaign in history and it’s going to take time,” Roth said. “At some point, everyone who wants a COVID vaccine will be able to get one. While we aren’t there yet, making vaccine available to everyone is our top priority.” 

A federal partnership has been sending CVS and Walgreens staff to congregant care facilities to administer vaccines. Safeway and Rite-Aid aim to support the effort, with Safeway beginning to offer shots at one location this week with additional sites coming on board in the next two weeks.

Along with County health departments, private health systems such as Kaiser, Sutter and John Muir Health are all scaling up their efforts to vaccinate their own members and let them know when it’s their turn. As more people become eligible, pharmacies will coming online to provide them as well.

The vaccines approved for use “are safe and effective” and “the key to keeping Contra Costa County safe and reopening our community,” Roth said.