Grocery store workers are among the Santa Clara County residents that will have access to the coronavirus vaccine as soon as the end of February. (Photo via Guven Peter Witteveen/Flickr)

Santa Clara County has expanded vaccination eligibility to a new group of essential workers.

Residents who are workers in education and childcare, emergency services, and the food and agriculture industries can get vaccinated as soon as Feb. 28, county officials announced on Wednesday.

The county said it expanded eligibility because it hit “a key milestone” this week: providing more than half of the county’s residents age 75 and older, and more than 40 percent of county residents ages 65 and older with at least one dose of the vaccine.

With the new expansion to essential workers, the county is also expanding its multi-pronged outreach and access strategies. This includes opening new clinics in disproportionately impacted communities, providing drop-in appointment times in the evening and on weekends, and working with community partners that have established trust and understanding in those communities, Rocio Luna, the county’s deputy director of public health said.

Other efforts include “door-to-door outreach, outreach to businesses with eligible workers, outreach through community-based organizations in hardest hit communities, and dissemination of information through many channels in multiple languages,” county officials said.

County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody underscored that equitable access and distribution in the county’s hardest hit communities remains a main priority.

“As we make progress toward our goal of vaccinating at least 85 percent of our residents age 16 or older by this summer, we are laser focused on ensuring equitable access to vaccinations for those communities most disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” Cody said.

County officials are urging residents 65 and older to schedule vaccine appointments as soon as possible, especially as the eligibility expands at the end of the month.

Residents can schedule appointments or learn more about vaccinations in the county at or by calling 211.