San Mateo County to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligiblity to essential workers on Feb. 22

in Community

Beginning Feb. 22, San Mateo County will expand COVID-19 vaccination eligibity to essential workers including teachers and child care providers, first responders and food and agricultural workers (including grocery workers) who are eligible under the state’s Phase 1B, as supplies allow.

Since vaccines began arriving in December, the County and its private providers have partnered to focus limited doses on frontline healthcare workers, residents of longterm care facilities and seniors, since 84 percent of the 447 deaths in the County related to COVID-19 were individuals ages 65 and older.

Starting Feb. 22,, that effort will expand to include essential workers, per Phase 1B, the County said.

The County said it is working with all stakeholders on equitable vaccination plans that encourage local health providers to prioritize community members in low-income neighborhoods before opening appointments to the broader eligible population.

As of this week, “a third of seniors ages 65 and older in San Mateo County have received the first dose of vaccine,” the County said. And as of Sunday, a total of 84,783 individuals of the county population of about 780,000 have received a first dose of vaccine, and nearly 20,000 have completed the two-dose vaccine series.

Today, President Joe Biden announced the U.S. has secured contracts with Moderna and Pfizer to deliver 600 million doses of vaccine by the end of July, enough for all Americans. The immunization pace could increase with the potential federal approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. With help from these developments, April will be “open season” for vaccinations, predicts Dr. Anthony Fauci, science adviser to President Biden.

At the moment, however, supply limitations persist, County officials warn.

“Getting vaccines into the arms of San Mateo County residents is our highest and most urgent priority,” said San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine. “While we are doing everything possible to ensure everyone who is eligible for the vaccine receives one, we are facing serious supply limitations that complicate our efforts. We ask for patience and understanding in these very trying times.”

Residents  can sign up for the County’s notification tool to receive alerts when the state makes them eligible and information about how you may get an appointment.

Photo credit: CDC