"Kids are starting to go to college and we all want to get back to school. The only way that we're going to be able to open up these beautiful halls to young people who want to learn and get on with their lives is if we can get everybody vaccinated," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez during a media event at Overfelt High School.
Overfelt, which is located in the heart of East San Jose, is among the many county-run sites where people can drop by this weekend without an appointment.
RELATED: Reports of menstrual cycle changes after COVID vaccine highlight issues with clinical trials
"So many of our students right now are doing childcare or working jobs and are trying to go to school online full time," said Overfelt principal Vito Chiala. "I think we really have to make it convenient for them and make sure they understand how to access it."
In Santa Clara County, more than 67% of eligible residents have received their first dose and nearly 40% have been completely vaccinated. But officials say young adults make up the highest number of unvaccinated individuals in the county, and although case rates are declining, they also have the highest rate of COVID infection of any group.
RELATED: 'Thank you': Santa Clara Co. hits major COVID-19 vaccine milestone, thousands of new appointments available
"Young people have this misconception that COVID is no big deal," said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the county's COVID-19 testing and vaccine officer. "It is a big deal and we've seen a lot of young people now hospitalized... young people with long-term infections that go on for months and months and months."
The county is also launching a youth engagement team to help cut through the misinformation that some may be seeing on social media.
RELATED: When 12 to 15-year-olds could get COVID-19 vaccine in US
"We revolve our lives around social media, you know, we're always on TikTok, or Instagram, or Snapchat, and I think once you reach out in maybe ads or maybe even having like a social media page for us getting the vaccine, it'll help us a lot because that's our main resource for information," said Overfelt senior Andrea Hernandez.
Evening and weekend hours at county-run sites will also expand in the coming weeks.
RELATED: Children now playing 'huge role' in spread of COVID-19 variant, expert says
"I think it's important to have availability everywhere, places that they know and that they're feeling comfortable, places they can walk to, and to ensure that we communicate effectively," said county deputy executive Dr. Rocio Luna.
For more information on which drop-in locations are available this weekend, click here.
VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine
Having trouble loading the tracker above? Click here to open it in a new window.
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Cheat sheet: What you can and can't do after being fully vaccinated
- CA COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: See your status here
- These CA counties are way ahead in vaccinations
- How to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in every Bay Area county
- AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson: Breaking down the differences between coronavirus vaccines
- 10 Bay Area ZIP codes prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine