May 7, 2021 – Message from the Chief
Louise Rogers, chief, San Mateo County Health
As we begin the month of May, following four months of hard work by so many to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to every eligible resident, we are now in the long-anticipated phase of having enough supply of vaccine to make access easier and more predictable.
There are many options to be vaccinated that a resident can find on the State’s MyTurn platform at locations across San Mateo County, including those offered by most of the private health care system partners and pharmacies that have played such major roles in vaccinating our residents. I also want to highlight that we have added a calendar of all the County-sponsored first-dose opportunities for the community that occur on a regular schedule. These may also be scheduled through MyTurn, though appointments are not required. Walk-up options are opening at local pharmacies and at all of the locally targeted community clinics we continue to support. There are many other opportunities as well that San Mateo Medical Center, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, and Correctional Health Services are targeting at our patients and clients.
Based on the State’s Immunization Registry data, as of May 6th, a total of 482,598 residents have been vaccinated with at least one dose, representing 75.1% of the population age 16+. Our reach in the Health Equity Quartile communities that experience less healthy living conditions is 62.1%, continuing to represent a persistent 12 to 13-percentage point gap while also continuing to rise at about the same rate as our countywide vaccination reach.
At this stage, we are seeing that continued reach will require the more intensive outreach, education and support that can make getting vaccinated easier for those with the least flexibility with their time. We also see the importance of continuing to understand what questions or information can address the valid concerns that exist among many residents who have not heard from their physician/medical team or may be grappling with condition-specific questions. We also are hopeful that approval of the Pfizer vaccine for the 12-15 year-old age group will occur soon and enable another important group to be protected.
We continue to learn from what is working and what needs to be changed, increasing our reach of key populations such as homebound older adults, with 61.6% (1,352) of the 2,196 self-identified residents reached. The State has now added questions to the MyTurn system to enable residents to designate their need for a home-delivered vaccine by validating a few questions about mobility or other limitations. As a result, we no longer need to use our local web-based form to collect this information and will be discontinuing it. If you have been referring homebound residents and others with special needs to us using our form, you can now refer them directly to MyTurn.
As President Biden established the goal of at least 70% of residents receiving at least a first-dose by July 4th, it feels wonderful to know that together we have reached that milestone already in San Mateo County.
We are grateful to every resident who has already been vaccinated and the many who are playing a role in helping others. We are grateful to all of you for the support that has enabled us to reach this point. The continued positive news on the vaccines’ efficacy, even with the variants that are present, is very encouraging.