With more than 60% of Marin’s population over 16 having received at least the first COVID-19 vaccine, medical health officials in our county deserve to take credit for helping make our community and its residents safer.
After a year of public health lockdowns, having more than half of the county’s residents vaccinated is an impressive and important milestone toward stopping the spread of this virus that has contributed to the deaths of more than 170 of our relatives, friends and neighbors across Marin.
Marin’s target is smaller than its neighboring Bay Area counties, but the county’s progress is leading the way in rolling out a mass vaccination campaign with fewer bumps and curves than has been experienced elsewhere.
In Sonoma County, which has faced shortages of vaccines, a reported 25% of the county’s residents over 16 have been fully vaccinated. Forty-five percent of Sonoma’s residents have received at least the first dose, well above the March 18 estimated statewide rate of 16.6% being fully vaccinated and an additional 15% partway through the two-dose regimen.
At a time when warnings of coronavirus variants and fear that they are even more contagious are raising fears of another surge, making headway toward getting as many residents vaccinated with both inoculations is as important as ever. Not only to those getting vaccinated, but to stemming the virus’ spread.
That’s why public health officials are cautioning people to continue to wear masks and follow commonsense safety protocols when gathering with others.
The campaign to focus the initial supply of shots to disproportionately vulnerable and high-risk populations — such as seniors — has paid off.
At least 81% of Marin residents 65 and older — a population that has dominated COVID related hospitalizations and deaths — have been innoculated; more than 68% having completed the two-shot regimen. More than half of Marin’s residents ages 50 to 64 have received one or both shots, especially as supplies of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are added to the local supply.
That number should rise quickly as vaccines become more readily available and accessible.
It is important to start getting younger adults vaccinated as local testing has shown they have had the highest rates of contracting the virus.
It also should be noted that local efforts to make sure that access to the supply is not hindered by racial barriers is also reflected in Marin’s numbers, but that has to continue to be a top priority.
Frequent reports of locals having to drive to another county, sometimes making lengthy trips, to get the vaccine have been troubling in terms of those vital shots being conveniently available.
Marin’s smaller size, both in terms of population and geography, should be an advantage in making headway toward ending this crisis. So should the number of health care providers — and their employees — across Marin who have stepped forward to participate, playing a pivotal role in reducing the threat and potential consequences of COVID’s spread.
Focus on outreach to residents who may not have access to online notifications or are not connected to medical coverage has also made progress, but it needs to remain vigilant.
In a relatively short period of time, significant progress has been made in Marin.
For that, we should be thankful and optimistic that the pace of the number of residents starting and completing the vaccination regimen will steadily increase and the threat we’ve endured now for more than a year will lessen.
It’s been a long and difficult road, but the impressive progress of local vaccination efforts is a hopeful milestone.