The following is a joint message from Marin County Public Health, Kaiser Permanente, MarinHealth, Sutter Health/Novato Community Hospital, and Marin Community Clinics.
San Rafael, CA – Starting Monday, February 15, Marin County residents aged 65 and older will be eligible to register to receive a COVID-19 vaccination through Marin County Public Health and several other health care providers.
Marin County Public Health and health care providers began an immunization program for those 75 and older January 21 in a joint strategy designed to save lives. About three-quarters of Marin’s COVID-19 deaths have been in that age group.
Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said as a result of the combined effort, enough progress has been made with the older group, which accounts for about 25,000 residents, to warrant the opening of the next age-group tier.
“We’ve vaccinated 60% of our residents age 75 and older,” Willis said. “We’re ready to join other Bay Area counties that have expanded to the next highest-risk group, or residents over age 65.”
Ninety-two percent of deaths from COVID-19 in Marin County are among residents age 65 and older.
To date, approximately 36,000 Marin residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, in addition to thousands more Marin-based health care workers who live in other counties but help care for Marin residents.
Vaccinations will continue for any remaining Phase 1A-eligible health care workers, first responders, residents of long-term care facilities and those 75 and older. Once someone is eligible to be immunized against COVID-19, they remain eligible even as additional groups become qualified to access the vaccine.
Health officials remain challenged by limited supplies of vaccination dosages, and supply determines the pace at which residents can be vaccinated. Some health care providers are continuing their 75 and older focus through February, and it may take a few weeks until individuals in the 65-74 age group can access a vaccine appointment.
“We’re allowing providers to focus on the needs of their patients, and so Kaiser Permanente will continue to prioritize the 75 and older population at this time,” Willis said. “Given the large number of patients they have in this age range, we agree with this approach.”
Marin County Public Health is working closely with MarinHealth, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter, Marin Community Clinics, county fire agencies, Marin Medical Reserve Corps, and other community partners to provide coordinated vaccine distribution across Marin.
“While doses are in short supply at the moment, rest assured everyone will have an opportunity to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Karin Shavelson, Chief Medical Officer of MarinHealth Medical Center. “For now, we’re prioritizing those at highest risk for severe disease and death and look forward to opening up more appointments in our community in the weeks ahead.”
An overview of appointment options for all health care vaccination dispensing sites can be found online. New appointments for Marin Public Health are posted Thursday afternoons. In addition to local health care providers, commercial pharmacies such as Safeway, CVS and RiteAid are expected to start offering vaccine to Marin residents in the next two weeks.
To help Marin residents track when they may be eligible to receive a vaccine, the County has offered an online interest form. Residents can answer a few questions to be subscribed to receive email, text message, or pre-recorded phone call notifications when their turn has arrived and how to pursue a vaccine appointment. The form is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese 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 answers to frequently asked questions and myths versus facts. 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.