County of Marin - News Releases - COVID-19 Vaccine

For Immediate Release
December 15, 2020

Joint Statement of the Bay Area Health Officers

COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed following federal, state framework

As Bay Area nurses, doctors and other health care workers caring for COVID-19 patients receive the first, small batches of a rigorously tested vaccine, the region’s public health officers see hope: We now have a critical tool to help fight this pandemic.

A person wearing protective gear looks at a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.A technician checks a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

These vaccinations in acute care hospital settings follow a federal and state framework adopted locally that will also soon protect those living in skilled nursing facilities, settings where elderly, vulnerable members of our communities are more likely to have severe illness and die from COVID-19.

As vaccine supplies grow to eventually include other groups, the Bay Area’s Public Health Officers and federal officials believe these safe and effective vaccines will work in tandem with the daily habits and essential public health work that will ultimately end the pandemic.

Those key steps to fight the pandemic include public health work to protect high-risk groups and health care workers, identifying and isolating cases, and also tracing and quarantining contacts. For the public that means wearing face coverings, avoiding gatherings, postponing travel, and staying home whenever possible.

“As an epidemiologist, I know how lucky we are that COVID-19 is a vaccine preventable disease, and widespread vaccination is the final piece of the puzzle,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Health Officer. “The development and distribution of a rigorously tested, effective vaccine just one year after this virus first emerged is a testament to science, our guide throughout this pandemic.”

The 12 health officers for the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley support the state's vaccine distribution guidelines, which now prioritize healthcare workers in acute care facilities. Each jurisdiction will use that roadmap to implement the distribution of vaccines in this first phase, which may take several months as supplies increase. Vaccines for the general public may be available by early summer.

All of the region’s health officers plan to take the vaccine when the opportunity comes.

These early doses of COVID-19 vaccine come amid an unprecedented surge of cases regionally and statewide. As hospitals’ intensive care units near capacity, stay at home orders are either in place or anticipated soon throughout the region.

Staying home saves lives.

“In this darkest hour, the vaccine gives us a beacon to show the direction we’re headed,” said Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, Health Officer for the City of Berkeley. “The actions and daily habits we each take increase the light on that path and improve safety for all.”

“This first batch of vaccine will protect those at critical risk of infection and give promise to our future,” said Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa County Health Officer. “As we await increasing vaccine supply, letting our guard down too soon is dangerous. Smart choices and healthy daily habits for the pandemic are critical to protecting the rest of us.”

Learn more about the state’s guidelines for the first phase.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines in Marin County.


Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Matthew Willis
Marin HHS website