San Mateo County is focused on getting as many people vaccinated as possible as its COVID-19 vaccination rate has slowed down but continues to increase. During a presentation to the county’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Louise Rogers, chief of San Mateo County Health, said that the county hasn’t “hit the wall.” “We’re seeing increases in the communities that have been the hardest to reach,” Rogers said. “I think some of this is time and the people who have been saying they just want to wait. As the weeks go by, there are more people that become inclined to change their mind and that’s very encouraging.”
As of Monday, 88% of county residents 16 and older have received at least their first shot, compared to 85% three weeks ago.
Last week, the county’s health department injected just over 500 people with their first dose.
Moreover, the county’s efforts to do targeted vaccinations are paying off. The county has received 15 requests from community partners to host pop-up vaccine events since creating an online sign-up form in early June.
Vaccinations for children and teenagers are also on the rise. As of Monday, 61% of 12- to 15-year-olds had received at least their first vaccine dose, compared to 52% three weeks ago.
Dr. Anand Chabra, San Mateo County Health COVID-19 mass vaccination section chief, said that the county will focus on getting children vaccinated through pediatric providers instead of having vaccinations at school sites in the fall.
“For most children, the best environment to receive their COVID-19 vaccination would be with a primary care provider,” Chabra said, adding that children can also catch up on other routine immunizations they may have missed due to the pandemic.
While COVID-19 case numbers have been low in San Mateo County, public health officials expect that the delta variant is present in the county. The delta variant appears to spread more easily than other coronavirus variants.
Rogers did not have an exact number of COVID-19 cases in the county caused by the delta variant but said they are relying on state data.
“The means of identifying the variants relies on laboratory testing that isn’t conducted on all of the samples,” Rogers said. “So we have to really rely on the statewide estimates and I think we expect that that variant is present locally, just as the other variants are.”
In California, the delta variant represents about 14.5% of COVID-19 specimen that were sampled and sequenced in June, according to data from the California Department of Public Health.
Rogers said that the county is not considering adding stricter restrictions in response to the delta variant.
But she said, “We have just been 100% focused on getting people vaccinated because we know that’s really the best strategy for addressing the variant.”
People can visit https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus for San Mateo County’s COVID-19 information page.