Santa Clara Co. clarifies where residents can get boosters after promising everyone can get one

Santa Clara County sites have a more liberal interpretation of CDC guidelines than private retailers.

ByMelanie Woodrow KGO logo
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Santa Clara Co. clarifies where residents can get boosters
Santa Clara County says private retailers, meaning Walgreens or CVS, may not give out COVID boosters to everyone, but county-operated sites will.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- A Los Altos Hills resident says she was turned away by Walgreens for a booster, despite Santa Clara County health officials promising residents anyone who wants a booster can get one. Now those health officials are clarifying where residents can get one.

Everyone in the Love family is vaccinated. Mom of three, Tru Love says when she heard all Santa Clara County residents could get a booster shot she was thrilled.

"I jumped up and down and I was like 'yes, we get the booster, I'm so excited,'" said Love.

PREVIOUS ARTICLE: Everyone is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot in Santa Clara Co.

Coronavirus hits close to home for Love. She says more than 12 friends and family members have died from the virus.

"The personal heartbreak is sometimes overwhelming," said Love.

Which is why within two days of Santa Clara County health officials announcing boosters for everyone, Love attempted to make an appointment online at Walgreens.

That landed her on a series of questions based on CDC guidelines. Love says she isn't 65 or older, doesn't have an underlying medical condition, doesn't live in a long-term care facility and isn't at increased risk due to her work environment. She answered honestly and was deemed ineligible.

Love called Walgreens.

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"They're like 'yeah, we don't care what Santa Clara says we only care what the CDC says we would love to give you the booster but until the CDC says we can we can't do that,'" said Love.

In an emailed statement, a Walgreens Spokesperson tells ABC7 News quote, "Walgreens will administer a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to patients who attest to meeting State and/or Federal requirements."

It's not just Walgreens. When scheduling a booster on CVS' website, in small print it says by scheduling you meet CDC booster eligibility guidelines and are confirming the guidelines apply to you.

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In an emailed statement, a CVS Spokesperson tells ABC7 News, "We understand that some states may expand the criteria for COVID-19 boosters, but our participation in the Federal Pharmacy Program requires us to follow recommendations from the FDA and CDC."

So what did Santa Clara County health officials mean when they said this last week -- "Nobody will be turned away who wants a booster."

That came from Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County's COVID-19 Vaccine Officer.

ABC7 News asked Dr. Fenstersheib Monday.

"To be perfectly clear, nobody who wants a booster will be turned away from any of the county operated sites here in Santa Clara County," said Dr. Fenstersheib.

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Dr. Fentersheib says Santa Clara County has a more liberal interpretation of CDC guidelines than private retailers.

Love, her husband and two of her three children who are 18 or older are now scheduled to get their boosters from the county on Sunday.

"Yay, I can't wait," said Love.

Santa Clara County health officials say anyone in the county who wants a booster will not be turned away if they make their appointment at a county operated site in Santa Clara County here.