Santa Clara Co. sees increase in 1st vaccine doses; patients say Delta variant is motivating factor

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, Santa Clara County says "first dose" vaccine numbers are on the rise. Right now, it's unclear whether concern over the Delta variant is driving interest, but the county's efforts to put vaccination clinics in the community continue.

Connecting the community to COVID-19 vaccines is the goal for the county's various vaccine mobile clinics. At times, their outreach has gone beyond county borders.

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"The county right now will vaccinate anybody. It doesn't have to be a resident of the county," Denise Carr told ABC7 News. "We're just really trying to boost the vaccination numbers."

Carr is helping the county run the mobile vaccine clinics

On Tuesday evening, San Mateo County resident Kiana Valme got her first dose in San Jose, just outside the Del Monte Soccer Park.

Concern over the Delta variant was enough to speed up the 20-year-old's timeline.

"Once I heard that a version of the virus that spreads faster and seems to be more dangerous was going around, I was like, maybe it's time to do this a little bit faster," Valme said.

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For Tony Ortiz, the vaccine didn't come fast enough. He caught COVID-19 back in December and was hospitalized.

"I was there for about seven or eight days," Ortiz explained. "Then all the doctors came in and said, 'Aye, you better call your family because you're not gonna make it.'"

He survived. Ortiz said his work schedule didn't allow for him to get vaccinated in the months that followed.

However, on Tuesday, he overheard a radio ad that directed him to the park.

Ortiz said talk of the more transmissible Delta Variant reminded him of the rough recovery process.

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"They sent me home with a tank," he shared. "I was using it for about, maybe a month. And slowly, slowly, I could breathe on my own."

According to Santa Clara County, there have been 99 recorded cases of the Delta variant so far. A majority of those getting sick are unvaccinated.

As it stands, 83.1-percent of residents 12 and up have had at least one dose.

Additionally, in the last few days, the county says "first dose" numbers have gone up.

RELATED: San Jose reaches 85% vaccination rate for 1st doses; here's what that means for herd immunity

"We have our fingers crossed that it's a trend and we're just going to continue to get more people vaccinated," Carr told ABC7 News.

It's unclear whether the uptick is connected to concern over the Delta Variant, or if it could be a response to new indoor mask recommendations. But those who have had COVID-19 said they'd choose a sore arm over symptoms any day.

"You don't want to go through what I went through," Ortiz added. "I mean, it's no joke. This is a real thing."

For more information on Santa Clara County's mobile vaccine clinics, click here.


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