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January 27, 2021

Covid-19: Vaccine now available for locals age 75 and up

County warns of ‘misinformation’ and scams

Santa Clara County residents age 75 and older are now eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination through certain healthcare providers, according to county officials.

Individuals age 75 and older who receive their primary care through the county’s Health and Hospital System can register for vaccination appointments through links on the county’s website at sccfreevax.org, says a Jan. 13 press release from Santa Clara County.

“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,” reads the press release.

Other healthcare systems—including Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Stanford and Kaiser—are expected to expand access to vaccine appointments for their older patients soon.

The county is also partnering with stakeholders in the community to ensure those eligible for vaccination who live in “our most heavily impacted and hardest-to-reach communities” receive information on eligibility and appointment scheduling, county staff said.

The county’s press release adds, “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.”

Vaccine ‘misinformation’

County officials also cautioned residents about recent “misinformation” about the availability of the Covid-19 vaccine. A glitch with the state’s vaccine scheduling program, known as PrepMod, allowed some users of the county website to bypass a questionnaire intended to assess eligibility when signing up for a vaccine appointment, according to county staff.

The press release notes, “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 learned of other vaccine related scams circulating in the community, and reminded residents that no one will be asked to pay out of pocket to get a vaccine or access any vaccination waiting lists.

Potential scams could come in the form of online advertisements on social media or through email, telephone calls or from unsolicited or unknown sources, county staff said.

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