Santa Clara County has supplied overdoses of vaccines over the previous month to a senior county official and dozens of different non-healthcare staff, elevating new questions concerning the discretion of suppliers to vaccinate lower-priority individuals amid a chaotic deployment throughout the state.
Whereas Santa Clara County shouldn’t be the one supplier to run into the issue, its choices are inflicting astonishment partially as a result of the county has concurrently taken a hard-line stance towards different suppliers who deviate from regular protocols, and not too long ago lower the Good Samaritan Hospital vaccine as a result of it improperly vaccinated Los Gatos lecturers.
Since January 11, the county has relied on a written plan that explains what to do with extra vaccine, which should be used shortly as soon as it begins to thaw. It requires providing the vaccine to individuals in Section 1A, the best precedence, first, adopted by individuals 75 and older, after which transporting the vaccines to the Valley Specialty Middle at VMC or Saint Louise Regional Hospital.
As counties throughout the state attempt to ethically administer additional doses from day after day within the context of a common scarcity, the protocol appears to make room for what occurs subsequent. No less than twice, quick-thaw vaccines have reached the arms of county workers who’re thought of a part of Section 1B, together with County Legal professional James Williams and others who don’t usually come face-to-face with coronavirus sufferers. . A few of these workers, together with Williams, are additionally a lot youthful than these now receiving precedence for vaccination.
The biggest group was vaccinated on Dec. 30, practically two weeks earlier than the county established written guidelines for added doses, when County Government Jeff Smith licensed about 45 county workers to work on the operations middle for County emergency to obtain vaccines that, in response to the county, had been in any other case headed for the trash.
State pointers prioritize healthcare staff and people dwelling in long-term care services in Section 1A, adopted by these 65 and older, educators, meals and agriculture staff, and first responders in Section 1B, of which EOC workers are half.
“By definition, these will not be identified areas prematurely. These will not be made appointments, what was distinctive that day was that it was a a lot greater quantity, ”mentioned Williams, who is sort of 30 years outdated. “Normally we’re speaking about onesies, twosies or possibly a dozen.”
At round four p.m. on Dec. 30, Smith mentioned he acquired a name that the Valley Medical Middle worker well being middle had a batch of unused Pfizer doses and there have been no greater precedence well being care staff close by than it. will want. With about 90 minutes remaining to manage the doses, Smith allowed these bodily current on the San Jose emergency operations headquarters, together with Williams, workplace staff, analysts and different help personnel, to obtain their first doses that afternoon. Williams mentioned he was one of many “final individuals in line.”
At the moment, about 6,000 county healthcare staff and help employees had been vaccinated throughout the county.
“There wasn’t a gaggle of individuals accessible on the hospital, so the emergency operations middle employees appeared affordable to me,” Smith mentioned. “My thought course of was, ‘Properly, if there aren’t any medical doctors, nurses and technologists accessible, then we must always go to the emergency providers.’ “
State immunization pointers as of December give suppliers some discretion to maneuver down the precedence record when vaccines are about to run out or individuals miss appointments. Well being departments can “quickly modify prioritization” solely after “intensive and applicable efforts to succeed in the prioritized teams at the moment,” in response to the California Division of Public Well being, which didn’t reply to a request for remark Friday.
Nonetheless, how precisely these situations play out in actuality has triggered confusion and heated debate. Final week, the county sanctioned Good Samaritan Hospital for providing what the hospital mentioned had been over-vaccinations to lecturers, additionally beneath the Section 1B group. The county mentioned the hospital’s actions included a sequence of “troublesome” occasions wherein lecturers had been supplied vaccinations at future dates, not simply overvaccination.
County staff in Section 1B have acquired vaccines solely on the day they had been accessible and solely barring different choices, Smith and Williams mentioned.
In one other case, on January 12, Deputy Director of Emergency Administration David Flamm alerted emergency operations personnel, public well being area personnel, and different 1B staff to a registration hyperlink to enroll in appointments himself. day “permitted by county management,” in response to electronic mail obtained by this information group.
Flamm mentioned Friday that it was the one time he was requested to ship such an electronic mail and that the vaccines gave the impression to be accessible at a number of websites. “DO NOT RESEND !!!!!” the e-mail instructed recipients, including: “If they can not get vaccinated in the present day, we anticipate there will probably be further days within the coming weeks when this chance could come up.”
“With all the continued vaccination operations, it appears to me that there’s at all times a small delta between administered and cancellations, or any variety of different points, so I simply anticipated that that would occur once more,” Flamm mentioned.
In all, there have been “a minimum of a pair” circumstances of 1B staff getting vaccinated along with the Dec. 30 group, however with far fewer numbers, Smith mentioned.
“We had been in a state of affairs the place we have now a vaccine scarcity, a problem with decoding state guidelines, lots of people who want to get the vaccine, and we had been making an attempt, and have nonetheless tried, to initially deal with care. medical professionals and first responders, ”Smith mentioned. “It is a use it or lose it state of affairs.”