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April 27, 2021 – Message from the Chief
Louise Rogers, chief, San Mateo County Health

Health Officer Updates Messages from the Chief

I appreciate being able to share more good news as California beats back the virus (see CDC map at this link) and the vaccine supply from both federal and state pathways to San Mateo County improves. 

County Health’s allocation of vaccine from the State improved by 29% to 14,390 doses this week, and San Mateo Medical Center received approval from the federal government to receive a direct supply of up to 10,000 doses per week. This really changes capacity and enables us to once again mobilize a high-reach drive-through vaccination opportunity at the SMC Event Center 2-3 times a week, as well as continuing our focus on locally targeted vaccination efforts in the communities that have had the lowest reach. We are also pleased to have the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine available to administer again following a thorough review by the federal government and the Western States’ Scientific Review. 

With everyone age 16+ eligible to be vaccinated and a more predictable vaccine supply, we are now in a phase of reaching every resident through the many pathways available to make it as easy as possible. It is so heartening to see in the State’s immunization registry data as of 4-26-21 that 445,776 residents are vaccinated with 707,327 doses, about 69.4% of our total eligible County population age 16+. Those vaccinated are 54.2% people of color, 38.6% white, and 7.2% unknown race/ethnicity. Among older adults, the collective vaccination efforts have reached more than 88.5% of residents age 65+. 

The major health care entities serving our residents – Kaiser, Sutter, Stanford, Dignity, many pharmacies – and the efforts of County Health and San Mateo Medical Center are all contributing to these totals

Data from 4/26/2021 show that 23,179 of our San Mateo Medical Center patients over the age of 16 have received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, which represents 43% of our patient population. Shout out to our Health Coverage Unit, whose phone calls to our patients have helped us learn a lot about our patients’ openness to the vaccine. We also see that we have reached 56.4 % of eligible adults in our lowest HPI census tracts, which reinforces the importance of predictable, easy-to-plan for, and accessible pathways for residents who have had the least flexibility in getting to vaccination sites.

We continue to learn from what is working and from the remaining gaps to improve our efforts and remove registration, transportation, and information barriers. We have reached 1,159 homebound residents with vaccines delivered to them, with several hundred additional residents better positioned to be reached with the one-dose Janssen vaccine again available. We have reached 3,148 Aging and Adult Services In Home Supportive Services workers who play such important roles in protecting and caring for residents needing support to stay safe in their homes. We have also vaccinated several hundred unsheltered residents by our Public Health Street and Field Medicine team.

We recognize that it will take more time and problem-solving to reach those not yet reached, relying on trusted messengers who take the time to understand and respond factually to questions, removing barriers, and continuing to learn and adapt. We hope that our mass vaccination and local clinics’ visibility on MyTurn for anyone who lives or works in San Mateo County will make access easier for digitally connected residents. We also expect to learn more good news in the coming month about the approval of a vaccine for the 12-15 year old population. 

Onward, together, in this critically important effort for protecting the public’s health.