Santa Clara County Requires Boosters for All Healthcare Workers and Others in High-Risk Settings

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody today issued a health order requiring up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination (both fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 if eligible for a booster) for workers in certain higher-risk settings in light of the rapid surge in cases due to the Omicron variant.

“This order is made in light of the emergence in Santa Clara County of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and the imminent threat that it poses to the health of vulnerable residents and the capacity of the healthcare system,” Cody said in her order.

Ensuring that all individuals working in higher-risk settings are both vaccinated and boosted when eligible is critical given the emergence of the Omicron variant, the risk that health systems will be overwhelmed, and other ongoing risks associated with COVID-19.

Individuals working in these settings “can expose highly vulnerable individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness and death, must be protected from COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible to ensure adequate staffing in these critical settings and in the case of jails, shelters, and skilled nursing facilities, can cause large outbreaks if infected.”

All workers in higher-risk settings must get booster shots no later than Jan. 24. If they are not in compliance. They may not continue to work after Feb.1.

The Omicron variant is “significantly more transmissible than prior variants of the virus,” she said in the order.

“Individuals who have had only their initial vaccine series are more susceptible to infection from the Omicron variant than those who have received a booster in addition to their initial series.”

“Our community and others may soon be facing a significant surge in hospitalizations as well as an increase in large outbreaks in congregate settings as a result of the Omicron variant.

The Department of Public Health reported that initial evidence also shows that individuals who have received a booster shot increase their immunity to a level that confers more protection from all circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the Omicron variant.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health now recommend that all eligible persons receive a booster shot because immunity wanes several months after completion of the initial vaccine series.

“Vaccination remains a critical component in preventing COVID-19 and its associated harms,” the county said.

Individuals who have not received a booster shot are more likely to become infected and spread infection to others, and more likely to become seriously ill, require hospitalization, and die,” Cody said in her order.

In considering options to stem the anticipated rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission and associated demands on our healthcare delivery system, ensuring that individuals who work in higher-risk settings are all vaccinated and boosted when eligible is critically important.

The order announced today requires that all individuals who work in higher-risk settings must be “fully vaccinated” and also obtain boosters when they become eligible. State health orders already require that many of these individuals be vaccinated (and ultimately boosted by Feb. 1.

However, those state orders do not cover all individuals working in higher-risk settings and roles, such as paramedics and jail staff.  The state orders also allow persons who obtain an exemption from vaccination from their employer to continue working in higher-risk settings where they are at high risk of becoming infected and exposing others, rather than requiring that individuals with exemptions be reassigned to lower-risk settings and roles.

The new county moves up the timeline for personnel to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The order applies to any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entity, whether a corporate entity, organization, partnership, or sole proprietorship, and regardless of the nature of the service, the function it performs, or its corporate or entity structure.

The “high-risk settings” in the new county order are those portions of the following facilities “where there is shared air space or proximity to patients, clients, or vulnerable populations,” including skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities, adult day care facilities, and memory care facilities; healthcare delivery facilities (such as hospitals, clinics, medical offices, dialysis centers, etc.) where patient care is provided, as well as medical first responders; jails and other correctional facilities; and shelters.

Cody also urged all businesses and governmental entities and individuals to follow these recommendations:

All eligible persons are strongly urged to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

  • Unless everyone is wearing face masks at all times for the duration of the gathering, individuals should not gather indoors in groups of more than 10 people from outside their household.
  • Businesses and governmental entities should immediately implement mandatory vaccination requirements for all personnel that require Up-to-Date vaccination as quickly as possible, subject only to the limited exemptions required by law.
  • Businesses and governmental entities should move operations and activities outdoors where possible, where there is significantly less risk of COVID-19 transmission.  Where this is not possible, ventilation should be maximized.
  • Businesses and governmental entities should prohibit all personnel who are not up-to-date with their vaccination from engaging in any work-related travel to places with rates of COVID-19 higher than the Bay Area region or where community vaccination rates are below the average in the Bay Area region.
  • Businesses and governmental entities should require all personnel not up-to-date with their vaccination to obtain frequent testing for COVID-19 consistent with current local, state, and federal recommendations.  Any person, vaccinated or unvaccinated, who has any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should get tested immediately.
  • Businesses that serve the public, especially those with activities that require patrons to remove their face mask to engage in the business (e.g., restaurants and bars), should require their patrons to be up-to-date on their vaccination and show proof of vaccination prior to entry.


Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


  1. So, now it is a third shot? (You can count on a fourth and maybe a fifth to come along during the Summer cycle.) In the immortal words of MLK, “How long, how long, how long will this Bull S%!t go on?”

    I am beginning to fell like the children in “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life” when their dad says, to them, “We’re destitute. I’ve got no option but to sell you all for scientific experiments.”

    Basically, it is medical experiments for the lot of you! Within weeks you will all be forced to get the third shot if you want to go out of your house.

    Full disclosure, I have received all three shots, but I received the booster in Oct and according to the science coming out of Israel, the booster wanes in about seven weeks. So my protection (assuming I had any) has already waned.

    My wife had a reaction to her second shot (heart palpations, shortness of breath, labored breathing, and some confusion). Her doctor has advised not getting the booster as she most likely experienced a mild case of myocarditis from the second shot. So, where will that leave her when the Central Committee degrees that everyone must have a vaccine card with proof of three shots? Well, Comrade Cody, what say you?

  2. 60 reported cases of omicron in SCC. No info on whether there are any hospitalizations from those 60 cases. How about our journalists seek some transparency from gov’t. You know, the original role of journalists, to keep a check on the gov’t…

  3. 30% of facilities aren’t included in that report, and your fear mongering is why people haven’t accepted COVID isn’t going away. The County has a rolling seven-day average of one death, extremely low deaths – and hospitals are not overwhelmed with severely ill COVID patients. Again, the state and County sites aren’t reporting all facilities, and 1,000+ licensed beds are not included in the count.

    The fact is SCC is highly vaccinated and protected from severe outcomes and has been for a while. The cycle of fear people like you perpetuate is due to PTSD from being scared by inefficient leadership.

    The Omicron variant has stalled in South Africa and other areas where it was found, which is resulting in SCC downsizing its “suspected” ICU cases. It’s time to move forward – turn off CNN.

  4. And if you really cared about the health of people in SCC, you would recommend to stop spending billions on testing, and funnel that money toward PTSD therapy for the double-dosed and boosted still double-masking it everywhere, despite highly effective vaccines. Also, case counts rising is a direct result of fear mongering – as MANY vaccinated and asymptomatic people are getting tested to visit their vaccinated and asymptomatic grandma, which is nonsensical. So, a bunch of asymptomatic positive test results from scared vaccinated people is why case rates are rising. Vaccines DO NOT stop transmission whatsoever. We will always see cases – but need to preserve testing for symptomatic people. Again, turn off CNN and stop listening to fear based public health messaging.

    Lastly, overdoses have killed 3x the amount of people in San Fran than COVID, and SCC also has seen a big increase in overdose deaths. The priorities are all mixed-up at this point.

  5. Not even the Biden admin believed its own Fear-mongering…
    A year ago Biden was ranting about the “Lack of Testing” Travesty…

    29Dec2020: Biden Says:
    “We need to SCALE UP TESTING, so anyone who needs one can get a test.
    After 10 months of the pandemic (Feb 2020),
    we Still Do NOT Have Enough Testing.
    It’s a Travesty.”

    So… what has the Biden Admin been doing for the last year?
    Push Mandates, Lockdowns, Passports & Blaming Others – – DIVIDING America.

    Almost $2 Trillion in America Rescue Funds and nothing comparable to Operation Warp Speed for Tests, Treatments, Therapeutics, Natural Immunity studies or
    other Mitigation Strategies to get back to normal and instill confidence in Medical authorities.

    ————“Most say Biden failing COVID fight… (08Dec2021 PBbedard) —————–

    CNBC All-America Survey: Biden’s approval rating on the coronavirus is now underwater at 46% approval to 48% disapproval.

    “Do you approve or disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic?”
    Some 55% said “disapprove,”
    with most of those, 44%, choosing “strongly disapprove.”
    Some 43% approve of his efforts.”

    “On the question of fighting COVID-19,
    likely voters said Biden has done a “Worse” job than Trump by a 49%-39% margin.
    Some 10% said both have done the same job,
    and 20% of DEMs chose “worse.””
    (Rasmussen Reports)

  6. Surreal, to see all these long lines, in NYC they wind around blocks with people outside lined up in the cold for hours waiting to get a Covid Test.

    A test which may tell if you have Covid at that point in time (that day)
    – not always realizing that it takes a couple days before a test will indicate you have Covid,
    at which time the most ‘contagious spreading’ period has built up and passed.
    If you get your test ‘Too Early’ after your ‘Recent Exposure’ Scare you may still have Covid since it will take a couple days for it to indicate.

    And then many people are lined up for hours with others that think they have Covid or one of Many Other winter cold symptoms –
    almost trying to spread / catch it before the test.

    Meanwhile Common Sense Slowly Sinks into CDC Policy Decision Making:

    ——— CDC Shortens Recommended Covid-19 Isolation & Quarantine Time (28Dec2021) ———

    CDC…”..shortened the recommended times that people should isolate when they’ve tested positive for Covid-19 from 10 days to 5 days if they don’t have symptoms”

    “The CDC also shortened the recommended time for people to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus to a similar 5 days if they are vaccinated. ”

    “The change is motivated by science (Or Politics?) demonstrating that
    the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs EARLY the course of illness,
    generally in the 1 – 2 DAYS Prior to Onset of Symptoms
    and the 2 – 3 Days After. ”
    people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and,
    if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if
    they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.”

  7. Cases will be a reality for the rest of our lives, most likely. You can make the same case for the flu, but we have never tried to manage a virus by preventing everyone from catching it – that is why we use the vaccine to support our immune systems to prevent severe outcomes – and that has worked very well. You’re advocating for scaring people into behaving in a way that has, and will continue to be destructive to them psychologically, even-though they are safe physically. Advocating for systems to disrupt the most vulnerable, like kids, despite an extremely low risk.

    You advocate to protect the 1% by harming the 99% – and just denying the inevitable that infectious diseases exist, and people will die from them – it is about minimizing the impact, which has happened. Move on with your life, or simply stop advocating to control other people. It’s weird.

  8. I love how the Coronatarians wistfully yearn for the heady 2020 days when local and state politicians shut down businesses, blocked Trump checks, and bureaucratized rent relief to lower Trump’s chances for reelection. What they fail to comprehend is the change in political winds, most importantly Trump is no longer president.

    With Biden-flation raging across the nation, interest rate hikes around the corner foretelling an extended recession (Biden-pression), generic congressional polls with GOP +4% (which should never happen as is more like 8%+ with the bias in polling), and Jim Crow Joe admitting that there is no federal solution to the Rona, there is NO WAY another lockdown is coming. And if it did, oh boy, they would have to come up with a new name for the red wave (red super-tsunami, red giga-tsunami, haley’s red comet?) that would spill through the streets. Don’t believe me, they just lowered the quarantine times to five days upon insistence from the airlines.

    Guess what, when you have Dems running the city, county, state, congress, and oval office, there is no one else to blame so #resist ain’t on the menu boys. Whatever numbers you conjure up don’t matter, you are going back to work, and you need to pay your rent, which thanks to rent control didn’t go down during the pandemic and won’t go down during the upcoming Biden-pression, because Pelosi and Schumer need the donor’s dollars.




  9. Steven, are you high? COVID, though has been traumatizing for many on a psychological level, isn’t anywhere near as bad as a pandemic can get, since COVID primarily impacted the elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions. 0-18 year old demo makes up 0% of all deaths – and the 18-45 demo’s biggest concern/killer, far above COVID, suicide, etc. combined, is a drug overdose. Drug overdoses are the #1 cause of death in that demographic. So, your generally healthy 0-59 year old populations have a very low risk of severe outcomes from COVID. And, we have the treatments and vaccines to prevent severe outcomes for the most vulnerable. What else do you want?

    The Spanish flu killed 50 million worldwide, about 10x more people than COVID – and the flu has killed another 50 million since the Spanish flu pandemic. 100 million deaths caused by the flu since 1917, and people like you and many others, hysterical over COVID given the effective therapies/vaccines, never cared about public health until COVID. It’s confusing. At least be consistent with your public health policies around infectious diseases – and again, stop watching CNN. The only pandemic in SCC is a pandemic of fear.

  10. Someone didn’t hear that we have another election coming up soon and needs a talking to again. I suspect that Gavin and his aunt Nancy Pelosi’s handlers will be giving a call to Ms. Cody soon.

  11. “If say only”… how absurd. Time for just making up reasons to catastrophize and fearmonger are long since passed. We knew from South Africa that the Omicron variant was similar to the common cold, but everyone was hoping that they’d get one last chance to push through the BBB hyperinflation ignitor plan. Fortunately, Joe Manchin single handedly ended covid by just saying no. Now everything you’re starting to read and hear in the news is that covid should be considered like the annual flu. It’s so fortunate we have an election coming up to free us from covid and the deviant control of health directors.

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