Yesterday, San José Mayor Sam Liccardo and Santa Clara County Supervisor, Cindy Chavez, were joined by founder, chairman, and CEO of Bloom Energy, Dr. KR Sridhar, Michael Elliott of Valley Medical Center Foundation, and Dr. Marty Fentsersheib of the Santa Clara County Health Department, to announce the funding of a new mobile vaccine unit.
The $199,000 raised by Bloom Energy, the University of Illinois’ SHIELD T3 PCR testing unit and Bay Area organizations was donated to the Valley Medical Center Foundation for the purchase of a new mobile unit to bring vaccinations to housebound, elderly, disabled, and other residents in underserved areas.
“I’m grateful for Bloom Energy’s continued support for the work of our front-line heroes throughout this pandemic,” said Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San José. “Particularly for its most recent act of generosity: a new mobile unit that will substantially accelerate vaccinations among our most vulnerable disabled, homebound, and underserved San Joseans. As we continue the fight against COVID-19 in our communities, we’re blessed to have a committed, genuine partner in Bloom Energy.”
In December, SHIELD T3’s mobile laboratory hosted by Bloom Energy eliminated time-consuming commutes to various testing locations by providing Bay Area businesses and schools simple, rapid, and inexpensive COVID-19 PCR testing. As Santa Clara County shifts to prioritization of vaccination access, Bloom Energy and SHIELD T3 recognized the need for mobilized vaccinations.
“Once again, Bloom Energy joins the VMC Foundation to fight COVID-19,” said Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Supervisor. “This new mobile unit will allow Santa Clara County to vaccinate the highest need members of our community by bringing the vaccine directly to them.”
This new mobile unit will create a more equitable way to access vaccines for many Silicon Valley communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The mobile unit will serve residents who do not have access or ability to physically visit a clinic. Valley Medical Center Foundation expects the unit to be ready by Summer 2021.
“I am incredibly proud of how the Bloom Energy team responded to the pandemic,” said KR Sridhar, founder, chairman and CEO, Bloom Energy. “We displayed our ability to respond and adapt quickly by operating our essential business safely and without interruption. We demonstrated our community spirit and sense of purpose through the many contributions we have made from refurbishing ventilators, providing emergency power for hospitals, testing and now helping the Valley Medical Center Foundation and Santa Clara County Health Department to provide equitable and accessible vaccine dispensation. I want to express my sincere thanks to SHIELD T3 and El Camino Health for partnering with us on the testing lab we are hosting.”
Bloom Energy has been a consistent and important partner for the local community during the pandemic, first as they assisted in refurbishing out of service ventilators for use with COVID-afflicted patients, powering field hospitals in California, and subsequently standing up a mobile testing lab at their Sunnyvale manufacturing facility. The unique public-private partnership greatly boosted testing capacity in the region. Using a system developed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the mobile lab can process up to 10,000 tests per day with same-day results, using a proprietary saliva PCR test. A $5 donation was collected from each test from participating organizations, providing the $199,000 funding necessary for the mobile vaccine unit.
“The University of Illinois’ mission is to serve the public good, and it’s a role that our alumni, including Bloom CEO KR Sridhar and COO Susan Brennan, have filled with distinction during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Bill Jackson, who leads SHIELD T3 and is executive director of the university’s Discovery Partners Institute. “This partnership shows how universities, governments and corporations are interdependent and can rely on each other in crisis.”
Currently more than 301,000 Santa Clara County residents 16 and older have been fully vaccinated, or 18% of the population. As more vaccine supplies become available, it is crucial that they are accessible to the entire community. Vaccination and continued testing are vital to re-opening and recovery from the pandemic.
“This donation represents an important step forward in our fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic in Santa Clara County. We applaud Bloom Energy for this remarkable generosity and foresight,” said Michael Elliott of Valley Medical Center Foundation. “Short-term, this gives us a new tool to beat back this disease. Long-term, it strengthens our public health infrastructure so that we are better equipped for future health emergencies. This is giving at it’s best.”
For the most up-to-date vaccination appointment information, please visit www.sccfreevax.org. The website includes details about who is eligible for vaccination and how to get vaccinated.
To watch the full press conference, visit here.