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March 24, 2021 – Message from the Chief
Louise Rogers, chief, San Mateo County Health

Health Officer Updates Messages from the Chief

Our work to reach every eligible San Mateo County resident with the COVID-19 vaccine continues with a deepening focus on our most vulnerable communities with several very targeted efforts this week.

We also seeing more and more residents complete their full vaccination course, having passed the 52% mark of those who have received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one of Janssen.

As of March 23rd, the California Immunization Registry data shows a total of 248,006 San Mateo County residents receiving at least a first dose of vaccine, representing 38.6% of County residents age 16+. Among older adults (age 65+) who have been eligible to be vaccinated for several weeks, our reach is 80.3% (104,443), and among those 75+ it is 84.8% (46,635). And among the congregate living facilities where there is risk of exposure for residents and staff, the federal-pharmacy partnership for long-term care has reached 389 facilities, with 98% completing second clinics. This is tremendous progress achieved by the collective efforts of so many critical partners and vaccinating entities made possible by many of our staff.

This past week was the first week in which the State’s eligibility criteria included all high-risk congregate settings, enabling us to reach more than 300 homeless clients residing in shelters as well as the staff working in these locations. As one of the leaders involved in these efforts said: “For many, it seemed beneficial they were being vaccinated in a known environment with friends and case managers present so they felt comfortable. Also, we <reached> some people as they were leaving/returning to/from work – unclear if they would have been able to/or prioritized getting a vaccine if we weren’t physically there. This was particularly poignant at family shelters – as the sun was setting, moms, some of whom had just returned from work, were standing in the vaccine line while their children played in the courtyard.”

We were also able to reach more than 100 inmates with efforts continuing this week. The Correctional Health Services and Sheriff’s Office teams have been vigilant throughout the pandemic in masking up daily, testing inmates and being tested themselves, and assuring safe isolation or quarantine to maximize safety for all. We applaud the efforts in reaching inmates to be vaccinated. 

There are a dozen community-based vaccination efforts occurring this week prioritizing the communities that have been hardest hit by the virus and least reached by other vaccination pathways. This effort requires enormous resources and constant communication with many stakeholders, and we are grateful to everyone participating in this critical work. We continue learn from all of these with the partnership of cities and trusted messengers. 

We also continue to look forward to an expansion of the vaccine supply directed to San Mateo County as we know that as many as 200,000 residents became eligible March 15th, including those with certain underlying medical conditions who are seeking an accessible local vaccine pathway. I will continue to keep you updated on any new information reflecting more and more predictable vaccine supply to enable us to keep improving.

Louise Rogers