Santa Clara County Official Answers Your COVID-19 Questions

As COVID-19 vaccination rates improve and more of the state reopens, rules are changing and that’s leading to both questions and confusion.

This is particularly the case in Santa Clara County. The Santa Clara County Health Department said they have been flooded with questions about everything from reopening rules to the when you can be asked whether you are vaccinated.

Question: What has changed since Santa Clara County moved into the yellow tier? 

Answer: “The posting and implementation of a social distancing protocol and the request to maximize telework. These remaining requirements were lifted when we moved into the yellow tier on Wednesday,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams. 

Question: Another persistent question is about the local order requiring businesses to determine the vaccination status of employees. 

Answer: “First of all, it’s not a vaccine mandate. Second, it is not a vaccine passport. Third, that information does not come to the county,” Williams added.

Question: What about medical information privacy? 

Answer: Williams said the vaccine mandate questions usually leads to questions about medical information privacy. “HIPPA applies to your health care provider and your health plan and doesn’t otherwise apply generally to employers,” he added.

Question: Can people decline to give their vaccination status? 

Answer: “Yes, but it does mean that you won’t be treated as fully vaccinated for the purposes of any of the rules that may apply to those who are fully vaccinated,” he said. 

Question: For people who get vaccinated, will they need a booster shot? And when?

Answer: “‘We don’t know is the short answer,” Williams said. “We don’t know the long-term durability of the vaccine or how the virus will continue to adapt with different variants. It’s certainly possible.”

Question: Are we “in the clear” after June 15? 

Answer: Williams said that “being in the clear” will mean the end of the tier system but restrictions on some things such as crowds at big events will be answered as we go along.

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