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March 30, 2021 – Message from the Chief
Louise Rogers, chief, San Mateo County Health

Health Officer Updates Messages from the Chief

The Governor’s hopeful announcement that the State is expanding eligibility for the vaccine this week (April 1) to all residents ages 50+ and in a couple of weeks (April 15th) to all residents age 16+ is a promising sign that California and San Mateo County will receive much more vaccine supply by later in April, which will help us increase the speed of our vaccination as a County and as a country. 

While we had scaled back our mass vaccination efforts without sufficient supply, we remain prepared to ramp up again when the supply of vaccine improves. We appreciate everyone’s continued patience in the next few weeks when eligibility expansion is preceding the increase in vaccine supply.

Our focus during the last week has been to complete the second dose needs of the almost 9,000 essential workers whose first vaccine doses were administered the week of February 22nd when they became eligible, as well as 6,000 eligible residents who were vaccinated through our ongoing County / Dignity Health collaboration. We continue to deepen our reach into the communities that have shouldered the most risk and exposure to COVID-19 and have faced the most barriers for residents to be vaccinated. It renews our hope and resolve to progress on these important fronts with the support and collaboration of many key partners.

While there are some delays due to a statewide problem with the State immunization registry’s reporting that prevent us from seeing the full impact of the efforts through last weekend, the data as of March 25th show that 283,711 individuals have been vaccinated with 412,160 doses, which is 44.2% of our total eligible County adult population. Of all county residents who have received the vaccine, 52.8% identify as people of color and 29.9% identify as white, and 17.3% identify as other/unknown. We can see from the data dashboard that 112,640 residents ages 65 and older have been vaccinated so far. This is 86.7% of this group. Of residents 75 and over we have vaccinated 90.3%. To reach 9 out of 10 of our elders is a significant milestone. We continue to prioritize the older adults, such as those who are homebound or homeless, to get vaccines to them. 

Our locally targeted efforts in the communities identified as the lowest Healthy Places Index (HPI) census tracts have vaccinated more than 2,438 residents at seven different locations. Additionally, the vaccine efforts of San Mateo Medical Center in its clinics located in our lowest-resource communities reached an additional 1,500 residents. We are also thrilled to see the federal government add 15 Walgreens sites to the list of 8 CVS and RiteAid pharmacies for a total of 23 pharmacies across SMC that are now providing vaccinations through the federal program. All of these local community options collectively help us keep closing the gap in vaccine reach to achieve the equitable reach we are striving for. I want to express special gratitude to the city leaders who have been essential partners in our vaccine rollout. Leaders in East Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, South San Francisco and Daly City have been instrumental in locating vaccine clinics, building trustful outreach pathways, and helping us continue to reduce the barriers. 

Warm regards,