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County Public Health Officials Lay Out Vaccine Plan

Dr. Maggie Park, San Joaquin County Public Health Officer, told the Board of Supervisors this week that the County has largely completed disbursement of vaccines for the Phase 1a category and has a remaining supply of approximately 17,000 doses. The County now begins to shift focus on the next priority population, in response to Governor Newsom’s announcement last week which makes people 65 and older now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

San Joaquin County Vaccine Administration as of Jan. 15, 2021:

Number of doses County received: Pfizer – 14,625; Moderna – 19,400

Number of doses administered: Pfizer – 10,405; Moderna – 8,700

Total doses administered: 16,909

County surplus doses remaining: 17,116

Dr. Park noted that in recent weeks the weekly vaccine allotment from the State has been reduced and the County has been told to hold back 50 percent of the doses in reserve due to potential limitations in supply in the coming weeks. Since the County’s remaining supply of vaccine doses is insufficient to accommodate the estimated 100,000 residents who meet the 65 and older qualification, Park outlined a data-driven approach that uses census track data and heat mapping software to identify those residents who are least likely to have access to vaccines through other traditional channels like hospitals, pharmacy chains, and health clinics.

“A mass vaccination campaign for an infectious disease pandemic is a complex enterprise that requires balancing different strategies for allocation, distribution, administration, and access monitoring, while constantly working within an environment of shifting state guidelines and federal disbursement expectations,” Dr. Park told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 19. “It’s unclear when another shipment of vaccines will arrive or how many doses we will get, therefore we must carefully and thoughtfully administer our remaining surplus in ways that fill the gaps for those who need it most.”

The County will look to set up mobile and pop-up vaccine clinics at senior and community centers, high schools and other facilities in neighborhoods where census track data shows high-populations of residents that do not have access to traditional healthcare services. Vaccinations will be administered to those who register through the County’s vaccine registration system.

“What we want is to get our kids back in school and local businesses’ doors open,” said County Board of Supervisors Chair Tom Patti, “That starts with ensuring that older residents with limited or no healthcare coverage who are more likely to end up in hospital beds, get the vaccines they need.”

The County plans to communicate directly with area residents who qualify using a pre-registration system called “Sign Up Genius” to ensure that those who meet the Phase 1b qualifications are those who actually receive the vaccine.

Park emphasized that, “It’s really important that we administer what’s left of our vaccine doses evenly and equitably, and that we find ways to communicate with those who are less prone to use or rely on electronic media.”

In addition, the Board formed an Ad Hoc Committee made up of the Chair and Vice-Chair as a sub-committee for the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) in the County.