PictureRamon “CZ” Colon-Lopez receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 21, 2020. (DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II).

Despite a federal goal of 20 million Americans receiving the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine by the end of 2020, the government fell well short of that mark, with only a bit more 2.1 million people vaccinated by the end of the year. 

​Here in Marin, home to approximately 260,000 residents, 
approximately 24,000 people have received the first dose of the vaccine, and approximately 3,700 have received the second dose, according to the latest data from the County of Marin. Those numbers mostly include healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities will continue.

As health officials take a coordinated step forward in how best to allocate a still-limited supply of the shots to those most vulnerable to hospitalization or death from COVID-19, they are prioritizing Marin’s approximately 25,000 residents who are age 75 or above.

This prioritization is a reflection of the limited vaccine supply available to Marin to date. Marin’s healthcare network receives just a few thousand doses each week, Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s Public Health Officer said recently. Local health leaders continue to advocate for increased doses and aim to vaccinate most of Marin’s vulnerable elders by the end of February.  

“With limited supply and no sign of any significant increase in the near future, this prioritization is the right move for Marin,”
Willis said. “Three out of four COVID-19 deaths in Marin are among our residents 75 years or older. A vaccine offered a resident above age 75 is more than 300 times more likely to save a life than a vaccine offered to someone under age 50.” 

Marin County Public Health is working closely with MarinHealth, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter, Marin County fire agencies, Marin Medical Reserve Corps, and other community partners to provide coordinated vaccine distribution across Marin. This includes hosting mass vaccination Points of Dispensing (POD), where hundreds of people can be vaccinated in a short amount of time. An overview of current operations for all healthcare vaccination dispensing sites can be found online and more vaccine providers are expected to come online in the weeks ahead.

While the California Department of Public Health’s Phase 1B prescribes vaccines for a larger group based on age or occupation, the State allows local jurisdictions to prioritize within tiers based on available supply. At the top of the State’s list of recommended sub-prioritizations is the 75 and older age group because of the increased risk of mortality or other severe outcomes.

Any existing vaccination clinics targeting other groups within Phase 1B of the state’s framework are permitted to continue through the end of the week. For Marin County Public Health, that includes vaccine opportunities for childcare workers, which are scheduled daily this week through Saturday.

To help Marin residents track when they may be eligible to receive a vaccine, the County launched a new online interest form.  Residents can answer a few questions to be subscribed to receive email or text message notifications when their turn has arrived and how to pursue a vaccine appointment. The form is available in English and Spanish on Marin County Public Health’s vaccine webpage. 
Everything a resident needs to know about the vaccination process can be read on coronavirus.marinhhs.org/vaccine, including frequently asked questions, myths versus facts, etc. Stay informed of progress by subscribing to Public Health’s daily status updates. The emails contain information on vaccine progress, announcements of when new vaccination phases open, and other relevant COVID-19 information.

On Thursday, January 28 (11:30-12:30pm), the County of Marin is also hosting an open townhall to discuss COVID-19 vaccines, with a focus on the types of vaccines, vaccine effectiveness and a Q&A session.



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