PictureImage courtesy Marin HHS.

Just two months ago, Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis lamented the limited vaccine supply available to Marin and “no sign of any significant increase in the near future,” a status that forced health officials to prioritize distribution to residents age 75 and older.

County officials efforts have remained steadfast in their efforts to aggressively pursue more supply and get vaccines into arms, opening a drive-thru facility at the Larkspur Ferry terminal and quickly and methodically moving through the various sectors of essential workers, including educators, food service and agricultural workers, child care providers and those in emergency services.

But recent days have seen a sea change in terms of vaccine expectations. President Joe Biden‘s announcement that up to 90% of US adults will be eligible for a Covid-19 shot by April 19th, as well as Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that the state would start vaccinating anyone 50 and over in a week and anyone over 16 on April 15, are based on California’s expectation that it will receive 2.5 million doses a week in the first half of the month and more than 3 million a week in the second — a big jump from the roughly 1.8 million doses a week currently.

“In just a few weeks, there’ll be no rules, no limitations, as it relates to the ability to get a vaccine administered,” Newsom said at a news conference last week. “This state is going to come roaring back.” 

Despite those lofty promises, the question remains: will Marin get access to enough supply to be able to deliver on those BHAGs

The need for equity will certainly play a role, as the County of Marin must follow the state criteria in determining vaccine eligibility, including targeting appointments to members of underserved communities that have suffered a disproportionate burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state plans to dedicate 40% of California’s vaccine supplies to people living in 400 ZIP codes that rank lowest in the California Healthy Places Index, which measures factors such as household income, level of education, housing status and access to transportation. None of the ZIP codes is in Marin. (Here’s the full list of zip codes being prioritized for vaccines).

The massive expansion in vaccine eligibility by April 15 represents 80,000 Marin residents who will be eligible for shots for the first time, according to the Marin Independent Journal. “We will see more doses,” Willis told the IJ. “It’s just that we may not see proportionally as much as other counties. If we don’t have significantly more doses to work with, there will be a very long line for people who are eligible.”

Willis added that the wait for an appointment isn’t likely to last longer than a month, however. Health officials expect to have enough doses to give every eligible Marin resident a shot by mid-May, the IJ reported


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