Wednesday marked the last day that first-dose COVID-19 vaccinations will take place at the San Mateo County Event Center, with abundant vaccine supply meaning that anyone 12 and older in the county can get vaccinated.
County Manager Mike Callagy made the announcement during a media briefing Wednesday. He added that there will be opportunities for second-dose vaccinations at the San Francisco International Airport mass vaccination site since the county fair takes place in early June at the Event Center.
Callagy said supply is no longer an issue as vaccines are available at pharmacies and community clinics throughout the county.
“We have enough supply, of course, to take care of everyone’s needs. Now it’s a matter of getting people to the vaccine site,” Callagy said.
As of Tuesday, 80 percent of San Mateo County residents 12 and older have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.
In the county’s hardest-hit communities, 69 percent of the population 16 and older have been vaccinated as of Monday, compared to 83 percent for 16 and older countywide.
To reach communities where vaccination rates are lagging, the county will focus on holding targeted events.
The county plans to create an online sign-up for community leaders, businesses or churches willing to host mobile vaccination clinics.
In terms of rent relief, over $1 million of unpaid rent has been paid in San Mateo County through the state’s emergency rental assistance program. This is an improvement from the numbers in mid-May, when less than $400,000 had been paid.
Both tenants and landlords can apply for rent relief through the state program, which launched in mid-March. Applicants have requested about half of the available funds so far: $23 million out of the $47 million available.
Callagy said the fund is still underused and encouraged renters or landlords to apply through the state’s portal at https://housing.ca.gov/covid_rr/index.html.
Currently, California’s eviction moratorium prevents tenants from being evicted through June 30 once they cover 25 percent of their rent.
When asked whether the county would consider creating a countywide eviction moratorium if the state moratorium expires, Callagy said that the county may have limited ability to make an extension and the decision would be up to the Board of Supervisors. Instead, Callagy said, the focus should be on making rent relief available to people who need it.
The county is also looking for other hotels to purchase and convert to transitional housing, as it did through the state’s Project Homekey program. Through the program, the county purchased the Pacific Inn in Redwood City.
The county also used federal funding to purchase the Coastside Inn at Half Moon Bay. Both inns are being used as interim housing for people experiencing homelessness. Callagy said the Pacific Inn shelter is full and the Coastside Inn shelter is “getting there.”
Looking back on the past year of dealing with the pandemic, Callagy said one lesson learned was the importance of having enough supplies — such as personal protective equipment or PPE — during an emergency.
“We thought certainly we had enough PPE but we could never imagine that we would go through it so quickly, and that we would then be in competition with the entire world for a limited supply of PPE that wasn’t in this country,” Callagy said. “We never want to be in that position again.”
Srija Srinivasan, Deputy Chief of San Mateo County Health, said that officials continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission through testing and contact tracing.
As of Tuesday, there have been 42,043 COVID-19 cases in San Mateo County and 573 deaths, with five deaths occurring in the last two weeks.
A calendar of vaccination clinics in San Mateo County is available at https://www.smchealth.org/vaccine-clinic-calendar.