Local groups in San Mateo County can now sign up online to host pop-up vaccine events.
The targeted events are a way to make vaccinations more accessible and increase vaccination rates in the county’s most vulnerable communities, according to officials.
Chief of San Mateo County Health Louise Rogers said on Tuesday that the county will continue strategies to increase vaccinations in its most vulnerable communities through fall and beyond.
“We’ve been very encouraged by the partnerships that we’ve had with the local organizations, including churches, to reach people in small groups,” Rogers said.
As of Monday, 85 percent of San Mateo County residents 16 and older have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In the county’s most vulnerable communities, the vaccination rate for the 16 and older group is 72 percent.
Vaccinations are available at health centers, pharmacies and community clinics throughout the county. People can also get vaccinated at the San Mateo County Fair Thursday through Sunday this week.
Moreover, the county is making steady progress vaccinating children 12 to 15 years old, who became eligible for the Pfizer vaccine about four weeks ago.
As of Monday, 52 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.
Dr. Anand Chabra, San Mateo County Health COVID-19 mass vaccination section chief, said that the county is thinking ahead to when more children will be eligible for vaccinations. They plan to expand the network of pediatric providers who can vaccinate children.
Chabra also said that the county aims to vaccinate as many people as possible as there is no “magic number” for when herd immunity is achieved. He described herd immunity as “that point at which we no longer see transmission happening in the community because enough people are immune that they’re not passing it on to other people in their circles.”
“We’re just shooting for as high a number as we can possibly get in terms of vaccination coverage because we don’t know what the magic number is,” Chabra said.
Though COVID-19 case rates are low in the county and the state looks forward to loosening restrictions on June 15, Rogers said the health department will still be focused on managing the spread of the disease.
She said they will continue working with the state and federal government as they learn more about the long-term efficacy of vaccines and whether booster shots will be needed. And if booster shots are needed, they will need to think about who would be responsible for administering those shots.
“I have confidence that we’re now at a better place in the nation, the state and locally to work together to respond to whatever the future brings,” Rogers said. “This is certainly not like the flu and we can expect new information to impact the course that we take.”
In total, San Mateo County has seen 42,170 COVID-19 cases and county data shows there have been 579 COVID-19 deaths so far. But state data shows that there have been 664 deaths.
Rogers said they are working to understand the discrepancy and the county stands by its data.
“We feel very comfortable that that number is currently the correct number and we’ll be updating it later this week,” Rogers said.
Vaccination information, COVID-19 cases and more information related to COVID-19 are available online at https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus.
The vaccine site interest form is available at https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=Nfb6DU2gzEin422hrwiD-S6Nu8Fm05tAlD6PWRPnVIxUMUhXVkU3ODBEWjJYV0pZRkhDWlgxSUI5TCQlQCN0PWcu.