Santa Clara Co. unveils mass vaccination site in Mountain View

The path towards increasing South Bay COVID-19 vaccinations shortened Friday. This, as Santa Clara County unveiled a new mass vaccination site at the Mountain View Community Center.

"At the end of the day, everyone’s gonna have to get the vaccine if life is to get back to normal," said Nicolas Chew, a healthcare worker who was one of the first to get vaccinated at the new center.

The course to normalcy though, is wrought with difficulties. Via a virtual news conference, Santa Clara County officials said they’re hopeful the appointment only, Mountain View site vaccinates 1,000 people per day, five days a week.

"We are at a critical junction in this pandemic throughout Santa Clara County," said Mountain View Mayor Ellen Kamei.

The county health department reports over 96,000 cumulative COVID cases. The seven-day rolling average is more than 1,100 cases.

Time is of the essence. We don’t have a month to lose. We don’t have a week to lose. We don’t have a single day to lose. We just can’t afford to let time go by," said Joe Samitian, a member of the county Board of Supervisors representing Dist. 5, which is also home to the new center.

While county officials grapple with getting more mass testing sites approved and opened in the coming weeks, there’s a glaring problem: Even with more places to administer the vaccine, and people to staff the sites, there’s a shortage of vaccine coming for the state.

"This vaccine is a critical tool, and hopefully our way out of the pandemic. But we continue to await additional supply of vaccine," said county Assoc. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Tong.

She said officials request everything Sacramento can deliver. During the week of Jan. 25-30, that’ll amount to 20,000 first-shot doses, and 13,000 second-shot doses. But it’s still not enough to markedly improve the 20% vaccination rate.

"It’s crucial to have the supply. So we can have the location and the logistics, but if we don’t have supply it’s going to be a problem," said Dr. Marcelle Dougan, an assoc. professor in the San Jose State University Dept. of Public Health & Recreation.

As the battle to move beyond the Coronavirus advances, officials say ultimate success – 70% vaccination rates, rests far beyond centers such as the one in Mountain View.