Employees with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department and the county’s local law enforcement agencies received their first of two coronavirus vaccines Thursday during the first of several clinics intended to vaccinate law enforcement countywide.
More than 800 sheriff’s office and local law enforcement employees, including Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern, received vaccines at the sheriff’s Regional Training Center in Dublin.
The sheriff’s office has some 1,650 employees, but chose to stagger when those employees get vaccinated to ensure the agency is not shorthanded.
Law enforcement employees from local agencies across the county as well as the sheriff’s office’s state and federal partners were also invited to the vaccination clinic, operated by the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency.
“We waited until it was our turn, we didn’t want to jump the chain,” Ahern said. “The vaccines are under great scrutiny, so we didn’t want to, in any way, go outside of the recommendations from (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or the governor’s request.”
A total of 975 doses of the vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer were transported to the Dublin facility early Thursday morning in advance of the clinic.
According to Dr. Kathleen Clanon, the medical director for the Health Care Services Agency and overseer of the vaccination clinic, the doses will keep for up to 72 hours in specially designed ultra-cold storage units.
Excess doses will be used for further vaccinations of law enforcement planned for Friday, Clanon said. The county plans to vaccinate up to 1,100 law enforcement officials per day over four days.
“This is a great set-up for us,” Clanon said. “The sheriff’s office has been so welcoming and really great partners and it’s just been a really great day.”
The sheriff’s office and county health officials are also collaborating to vaccinate the county’s corrections officers and inmates at facilities like the Santa Rita Jail.
To date, 189 sheriff’s office employees have tested positive for the virus, including the deaths of a deputy and sheriff’s technician last July.
According to Ahern, 10 of those cases remain active and are symptomatic, but none are hospitalized.
James Taylor, a 54-year-old dispatcher with the Livermore Police Department, praised the clinic’s efficiency, noting it took fewer than five minutes to sign in and receive his vaccination.
“This is very exciting,” Taylor said. “Getting here not knowing what to expect, it’s smooth as silk here.”
Taylor said his wife, an employee with Marin General Hospital, has already received her two vaccine doses.
“Our house feels comfortable now,” he said.
Ahern express optimism that vaccinating law enforcement officials countywide will help them keep the public safe and reinforce public trust in the vaccine.
“We want to make sure that those people who are dealing with the public are vaccinated,” Ahern said. “So the public knows they’re safe when they’re contacting law enforcement entities and our people are safe from obtaining COVID-19 from somebody in the community.”