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December 22, 2021 – Message from the Chief
Louise Rogers, chief, San Mateo County Health

Health Officer Updates Messages from the Chief

As we turn the corner on 2022, there are no words to express the gratitude we all feel for the tremendous resilience and stamina that is on display every day among the many frontline workers lifting all aspects of the continued pandemic response, including so many of you.

With the fast-spreading Omicron variant now detected across California, in the Bay Area and reported by the CDC as dominant in the United States, this is an important time to keep at the protective actions that can keep ourselves and everyone around us safe. In addition to vaccination including boosters, this includes masking indoors, testing if any symptoms, and isolating if sick. There is a fast-moving federal initiative announced by President Biden to make at-home tests more accessible and one just announced by the governor to assure at-home tests are distributed to public school students returning to school after the holidays. Dr. Morrow and the Bay Area health officers issued a joint statement urging residents ages 16 and older who have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines 6+ months ago or a dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine 2+ months ago to get a booster and encouraging all residents who have not been vaccinated that it is not too late.

We also appreciate that each one of us and each one of our residents must also continue to summon the resolve we need to adapt to the pandemic’s continuing uncertainties and demands. I hope you can find time in the coming days to reflect on what gives you strength, take time to savor it and plan to sustain it. This SMC focused Vaxiversary Feature about a Year of Hope, Strength and Struggle puts the journey of the last year into perspective through the thoughts and feelings of residents who chose to share. The picture isn’t tidy — their thoughts and feelings include frustration and sorrow as well as gratitude and hopefulness. The pandemic has shown us that everyone is vulnerable and that it will take all of us working together to put the worst behind us.

The pandemic has also shown us what is possible when we all work together toward a shared purpose. Our staff working with literally hundreds of partners have been able to protect our residents and reduce hospitalizations and deaths through remarkable progress getting the vaccinations out to every community. We have reached an overall San Mateo County vaccination rate (including all eligible and ineligible residents) of 85% for those who have received at least one dose and 78% for those who are fully vaccinated. As of December 20th, a total of 660,864 residents have received at least one shot, including 30,664 five-to-eleven-year-old children (about 48% of the eligible 5-11 year olds).

In addition, we are glad to see the progress among patients of County Health, with every group approaching or exceeding the “at least 80%” goal that we have set for every population. Among patients of County Health, we now see 1st doses having reached 73% of San Mateo Medical Center patients (22% of those ages 5-11); 81% of Aging and Adult Services clients (39% of those ages 5-11); and 80% of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services clients (32% of those ages 5-11). The massive effort to achieve this progress to-date involves hundreds of staff and partners working closely together and it has been awesome to behold.

 Happy holiday wishes to you and gratitude for your continued support. 

All Together Better,