This community opinion was contributed by resident Robert Bernosky. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.
- The San Benito Health Foundation was doing what needs to be done
- Guidelines for vaccine distribution priorities were being followed
- Creating a crisis over this suggests the possibility that poor vaccination rates by others in the county are being covered up
The numbers tell the story—vaccines became available in San Benito County the week of December 14. From that time through January 26, the two main agencies, the County Health Department and Hazel Hawkins, only administered 1,391 doses over the six-week period, a rate of 116 vaccinations per week for each organization. Compare that with Health Foundation’s effectiveness—approximately 400 doses per week. In the two-week period that the Health Foundation injected vaccines, they administered 36% of all vaccinations given in San Benito County. No one can argue getting the most amount of people vaccinated solves our problem the quickest.
The fact of the matter is that the San Benito County Health Foundation initially vaccinated its eligible clients and those funneled to them by the County Health Department and Hazel Hawkins Hospital. They then began reaching out to the group that makes up 80.1% of COVID-19 cases, are the next in-line per state guidelines, and make up 74.5% of the fatalities.
The San Benito County Health Foundation was acting very smartly by devising a plan that worked with employers so that their employee’s could be vaccinated, resulting in silos (a group of employees working together that have all been vaccinated) of the population being protected per the state guideline.
In just two weeks 789 of people got vaccinated. These are people that are the most vulnerable or work closely with the most vulnerable, and whose ill health would dramatically and negatively impact San Benito County. This is on top of other fine COVID-19 related efforts conducted by the Health Foundation such as working with the supermarkets that helped WIC clients get needed formula for their infants when supply lines collapsed in March due to the pandemic.
As a community we want and deserve the Health Foundation working for all residents of San Benito County.