Two-thirds of San Mateo County residents ages 65 and over have received first vaccine dose

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One year since San Mateo County experienced its first confirmed case of COVID-19 (March 2, 2020), 66 percent of County residents ages 65 and over have received at least the first of two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, according to health officials.

As of Wednesday, nearly 160,000 individual vaccinations have taken place in the County, with over 63,500 people receiving the second dose, or 223,000 shots in total, public health officials said. About a quarter of people ages 16 and older have received at least one shot. About 72 percent of residents ages 75 and over have received it. County officials are trying to reach out to the older age group to tackle any barrier to their vaccination, such as lack of transportation.

Vaccine supply remains a problem. One of the suppliers, Sutter Health, announced this week it is cancelling up to 95,000 vaccination appointments in the state, the majority of which are for second doses, due to supply and allocation issues. Deputy Chief of San Mateo County Health Srija Srinivasan said public health officials are reaching out to Sutter to see how they can help provide second doses to residents who have had their appointments cancelled.

With the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine set to roll out, County Manager Mike Callagy said he hopes supplies will increase significantly in the coming weeks. Other challenges moving forward will be to build confidence and trust among residents who may be reluctant to being vaccinated.

All three vaccines currently available are “all very good vaccines to get” and “we encourage everyone to take whatever vaccine is available, as soon as it is available,” Callagy said.

Residents currently eligible for the vaccine are frontline healthcare workers, residents and employees of long-term care facilities, adults 65 and over, and essential workers in education and childcare, agriculture and food (including grocery store workers), and emergency services personnel. The state aims to open eligibility for the next group, which includes residents age 16 through 64 who have underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19, starting March 15, depending on vaccine supplies.

During a press briefing Wednesday, Callagy recognized a challenging and traumatic year that has seen 521 County residents die from COVID-19 out of nearly 39,000 confirmed cases. He also expressed gratitude that mass vaccinations are happening in just one year, but also warned that residents must remain writing papers vigilant. While there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, the pandemic is not over and residents must not let their guard down, Callagy said during a press briefing Wednesday.

The County’s adjusted case rate is currently at 4.0, just shy of the 3.9 rate needed to move from the red tier to the less-restrictive orange tier in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Photo credited to San Mateo County