Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium is now officially home to the largest COVID-19 vaccination site in California. Several public officials were at Levi’s Stadium on Tuesday morning to officially open the site.
“This vaccination site, I am proud to say not only the largest in the state, but located here in my very own supervisorial district, will play a significant role in getting residents across the county vaccinated faster,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “Levi’s Stadium is an important site because of its central location in the county, proximity to public transportation and ability to serve a large number of residents every day. I hope that this convenience will make it easier for residents and their loved ones to get vaccinated no matter where they live because equity is and must always be a primary concern with how we address this health crisis.”
While Ellenberg was there to represent the area, noticeably absent from the news conference was anyone representing the City of Santa Clara. The City says this is a deal between the County and the 49ers.
“While we understood there were discussions between County and 49ers to host a mass vaccination site at Levi’s Stadium, we were only made aware of through a news release,” said City of Santa Clara’s Director of Communications Lon Peterson. “The 49ers have been clear in their public statements that they are hosting the vaccination site at Levi’s Stadium: accordingly, they will need to pay for the staffing to support the facility during this event. The Stadium Authority did not have any input on this public contract.”
Peterson says Santa Clara is happy to play a vital role in the mass vaccinations. The Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) is meeting with the County and 49ers to determine what role officers will play in traffic and crowd control.
It is still unclear what hosting this mass vaccination site will cost the City.
“The 49ers have been very clear that they are hosting the mass vaccination event, and we await the 49ers’ confirmation in writing that no charges will be assigned to the Santa Clara Stadium Authority,” said Peterson. “We are aware that the County has requested Disaster Service Workers for mass vaccination needs, and the City is evaluating what resources we can contribute beyond all the City’s current COVID-9 programs.”
The County plans to vaccinate 5,000 people per day at Levi’s to start and ramp-up to 15,000 people per day as more vaccines become available.
“Just like any logistical effort, it starts slow to make sure that we can actually make it work. We’re planning eventually to get to a physical capacity of 15,000 doses a day, but of course, that all depends on getting the doses. So, at this point, we’re starting slower, but we anticipate being able to put out 15,000 doses a day,” said County of Santa Clara County Executive Jeff V. Smith, M.D., J.D.
Unlike COVID-19 testing sites which follow a drive-thru format, this vaccination site will take place inside Levi’s Stadium. Officials say it’s safer that way.
“It’s technically very difficult to do drive through vaccinations because everybody has to wait for 15 minutes after the vaccine to assure that they have no adverse reactions, particularly allergic reactions and if you’re in the car, it’s hard to monitor somebody,” said Dr. Smith. “We have set up completely with an emergency care center so that if there’s a problem, we can render emergency care immediately. That’s not something you can do when somebody’s in a car.”
Health officials plan to have the Levi’s Stadium vaccination site open at least one weekend day a week and make evening appointments available. To find out how to schedule an appointment to receive a vaccine, visit www.sccfreevax.org.
As of now, Santa Clara County’s essential workers as well as anyone 65 years and older are eligible for a vaccine.