News

State earmarks funds for Santa Clara, San Mateo counties to punch up vaccine access

Money can be used to expand immunization sites, schedule appoints for residents in communities most affected by COVID-19

Nurses vaccinate patients at Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto on Jan. 30, 2021. A total of $7.6 million will be distributed across nine Bay Area counties to expand immunization sites. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

As California anticipates a massive expansion in COVID-19 vaccine supply starting in May, the state has announced it will provide $7.6 million to nine Bay Area counties to build out vaccination sites in some of their hardest-hit communities.

The March 31 announcement by Gov. Gavin Newsom and members of the California Legislature would pump $1.5 million each into Santa Clara, Contra Costa and Alameda counties; $750,000 each into San Mateo and San Francisco counties; and $400,000 each to Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties, according to a press release from the state Legislature.

The state expects to receive 4 million vaccine doses per week starting in the middle of May through the beginning of June. The goal of the funding is to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations to communities that have been disproportionately affected by the deadly virus. The money can be used to expand vaccination sites in the most vulnerable areas, hire culturally competent outreach workers or sign up residents for vaccination appointments through the state's MyTurn website, according to the press release.

The funding is a turnaround from the state's prior ZIP code-based vaccine distribution to its hardest-hit communities, which excluded Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and others in the Bay Area. Some of the most vulnerable residents share a ZIP code with wealthier neighborhoods and were ignored through the state's averaging system.

Santa Clara County leaders said the state system was disastrous to their efforts to reach disproportionately affected communities. They signed a joint letter to the state with the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Marin and Napa asking to follow the template the state agreed to for a memorandum of understanding with Los Angeles County. That memorandum allowed the county to bypass signing an agreement with the state's third-party vaccine administrator, health insurer Blue Shield of California, and to amend the agreement to work with the state.

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Santa Clara County successfully signed the amended memorandum on March 24, which gives it more flexibility to target communities most in need for the vaccines rather than to rigidly adhere to the state's formula.

Funding should be accessible to counties that have signed the memorandum as soon as next week, according to Wednesday's announcement.

On Monday, Becker urged the state to immediately expand vaccine eligibility to all residents in San Mateo County's hardest-hit communities. He noted that East Palo Alto has lagged behind in vaccine access, yet has one of the highest infection rates in the county.

"Communities like East Palo Alto are home to large numbers of essential frontline workers who have heroically stepped up and supported all of us through the entire pandemic but remain largely unvaccinated.

"I urge the state to immediately expand vaccine eligibility to all residents of East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, Belle Haven, and other communities that have been disproportionately impacted during the pandemic. For example, if you are 16 or older and live in East Palo Alto you would be eligible. This would simplify access in these communities and cause more to come forward and be vaccinated," he said in the March 29 statement.

Becker expressed his satisfaction with the funding in a tweet on Wednesday that said in part, "TY @GavinNewsom for working with Bay Area Caucus to make this happen."

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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State earmarks funds for Santa Clara, San Mateo counties to punch up vaccine access

Money can be used to expand immunization sites, schedule appoints for residents in communities most affected by COVID-19

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Apr 1, 2021, 9:14 am

As California anticipates a massive expansion in COVID-19 vaccine supply starting in May, the state has announced it will provide $7.6 million to nine Bay Area counties to build out vaccination sites in some of their hardest-hit communities.

The March 31 announcement by Gov. Gavin Newsom and members of the California Legislature would pump $1.5 million each into Santa Clara, Contra Costa and Alameda counties; $750,000 each into San Mateo and San Francisco counties; and $400,000 each to Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties, according to a press release from the state Legislature.

The state expects to receive 4 million vaccine doses per week starting in the middle of May through the beginning of June. The goal of the funding is to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations to communities that have been disproportionately affected by the deadly virus. The money can be used to expand vaccination sites in the most vulnerable areas, hire culturally competent outreach workers or sign up residents for vaccination appointments through the state's MyTurn website, according to the press release.

The funding is a turnaround from the state's prior ZIP code-based vaccine distribution to its hardest-hit communities, which excluded Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and others in the Bay Area. Some of the most vulnerable residents share a ZIP code with wealthier neighborhoods and were ignored through the state's averaging system.

Santa Clara County leaders said the state system was disastrous to their efforts to reach disproportionately affected communities. They signed a joint letter to the state with the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Marin and Napa asking to follow the template the state agreed to for a memorandum of understanding with Los Angeles County. That memorandum allowed the county to bypass signing an agreement with the state's third-party vaccine administrator, health insurer Blue Shield of California, and to amend the agreement to work with the state.

Santa Clara County successfully signed the amended memorandum on March 24, which gives it more flexibility to target communities most in need for the vaccines rather than to rigidly adhere to the state's formula.

Funding should be accessible to counties that have signed the memorandum as soon as next week, according to Wednesday's announcement.

On Monday, Becker urged the state to immediately expand vaccine eligibility to all residents in San Mateo County's hardest-hit communities. He noted that East Palo Alto has lagged behind in vaccine access, yet has one of the highest infection rates in the county.

"Communities like East Palo Alto are home to large numbers of essential frontline workers who have heroically stepped up and supported all of us through the entire pandemic but remain largely unvaccinated.

"I urge the state to immediately expand vaccine eligibility to all residents of East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, Belle Haven, and other communities that have been disproportionately impacted during the pandemic. For example, if you are 16 or older and live in East Palo Alto you would be eligible. This would simplify access in these communities and cause more to come forward and be vaccinated," he said in the March 29 statement.

Becker expressed his satisfaction with the funding in a tweet on Wednesday that said in part, "TY @GavinNewsom for working with Bay Area Caucus to make this happen."

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2021 at 1:24 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 1:24 pm

Getting more vaccines for everyone at any one existing site should be the aim. With the rise in eligibility even more waiting and eventual postponed appointments will occur unless the supply is guaranteed. Only then can we get the poorer served communities their vaccinations, with free shuttles and extended hours at the existing sites.


The Voice of Palo Alto
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2021 at 1:52 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 1:52 pm

I don’t necessarily understand why it will cost this much but it’s not my money and I am happy the state is doing whatever it can to improve vaccine access and distribution. For anyone that ever listened to “the former guy” and copied him by downplaying the effects of this virus it’s just laughable. This is not the flu. We are all currently living through the greatest public health crisis in 100 years. We need to vaccinate quickly here in California so we don’t see the same surge with the UK variant that is going on currently in Michigan. I’m optimistic that we may all be a lot safer by July locally. But since it’s a global pandemic, I see mini surges continuing in the United States into the fall and winter with us all being totally past this pandemic in February or March of 2022.


chini
Registered user
Midtown
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:18 pm
chini, Midtown
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:18 pm

>> a massive expansion in COVID-19 vaccine supply starting in May
In May? End of May?

I visited nearby Walgreens and CVS - relaxed, no crowd, no one getting vaccinated. Asked why, and was told appointments for the day ended at 1pm. Didn't get a sense of urgency.

And, they could not book an appointment or tell me the next appointment as those things are not done face-to-face anymore but use high-tech applications, I mean, "apps".

Should they be throwing money at the problem or throwing vaccines at the problem to expand vaccinations to more people?


Chris
Registered user
University South
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:19 pm
Chris, University South
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:19 pm

Today they have dozens of people clogging the entrance to the CVS store on University with dozens more milling around outside on University.

Who thought it was a good idea to send 50 people to a little CVS at one time?

The big Stanford operation on campus had fewer people when I was there Sunday. They could handle 50 people in less than 30 minutes, but not a smalll CVS store.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:58 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:58 pm

Oddly, today I got a notice from the state's MyTurn system giving me my code for vaccine access. I registered for it in early February during that massive shortfall where Sutter scheduled 2d appointments, cancelled them and rescheduled them.

Friends are reporting massive problems where they drive to their appointments in far-away Gilroy and Gonzalez only to find their codes are messed up and workers are trying to turn them away.

Spending on education is fine but having reliable systems that are updated more often than every 2 months would be better.


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