1M vaccine milestone reached in Santa Clara Co., hesitancy remains an issue

Santa Clara County officials announced that one million residents have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

And while they say this milestone is worth celebrating, there's still hard work to be done since many of those desperate to be vaccinated, already have been and those who are left may take more convincing.

"As we always say the first million is easy and the next 500,000 is going to be a little tough," says Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County's testing officer.

But officials say they have a plan, it involves more outreach, education and expanded hours at many vaccination sites.

In fact, Santa Clara County has plenty of vaccine right now. And for the first time, officials are seeing appointments go unused.

"We have enough vaccines to not only make sure those big sites are taken care of but every site in our community has appointments right now," says Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

So they're making changes, expanding night and weekend hours at some vaccination sites and focusing on education in underserved areas.

"We're doing lots and lots of outreach including going door to door seeing if there's anyone in the home that hasn't been vaccinated that would like to be vaccinated," says Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer.

They're not alone. Marin County is doing outreach too.

And so is Contra Costa County, where they've been using social media, bulk text messages, and a Spanish language campaign to let people know about available appointments.

Officials at Gardner Health Services in Santa Clara County say we have to do something.

"We went from having you know, I would show up at the plaza at 7:30 in the morning and we would have 600 people waiting, to now I think yesterday, we had maybe we had 50 people out there waiting," says Cyndi Ragona, Director of Operations for Gardner Health Services.

Gardner runs the walk-up clinic at San Jose's Mexican Heritage Plaza.

They say they're working hard to get the word out about safety and convenience. But they say convincing those still on the fence won't be easy.

"Now we need to reach the rest. The people that are not sure. They're kinda borderline. They're waiting to see what happens. We want to reach them now," says Ragona.

Santa Clara County is already expanding weekend hours at many locations.

And in the near future they'll extend evening hours, possibly as late as 9 p.m.