Coronavirus Vaccine – Marin poised to widen COVID vaccine eligibility to all adults
Anyone age 16 and older in Marin will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine on Thursday and should be able to get at least one shot by mid-May, the county’s public health officer said.
“We’re well-positioned to open it up completely,” Dr. Matt Willis said.
About 50,000 residents will qualify for shots for the first time Thursday, which comes two weeks after the county expanded eligibility to include everyone age 50 and older on April 1.
People who will become eligible later this week can schedule appointments immediately, but the ability to book a vaccination slot will depend on availability, Willis said. Appointments can be made at GetVaccinatedMarin.org and at MyTurn.ca.gov.
Marin’s vaccine supply had been growing steadily as more people qualified for shots, but the county’s allotment shrunk this week — by more than 30% from the week prior — because of a statewide shortage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Willis said. California health officials said the state expected to receive about 90% fewer Johnson & Johnson doses from the federal government this week.
“This is a temporary downstream effect of the loss of 15 million Johnson & Johnson doses in Maryland,” Willis said.
Last week, Johnson & Johnson said one batch of the vaccine, manufactured at Emergent BioSolutions’ site in Baltimore, did not meet the company’s quality standards and was “never advanced to the filling and finishing stages of our manufacturing process.”
The supply shortage could mean longer wait times for Marin residents hoping to schedule vaccination appointments, Willis said. But he said the county is still on track to hit its target of giving at least one shot to “all willing adults” in Marin by May 15.
People who are scheduled for second vaccine doses will not be affected by the supply shortage, but there will be fewer appointments available for first doses, he said.
“You turn is soon if you don’t find an appointment right away,” Willis said.
Sutter Health, which gets its own allotment of coronavirus vaccines from the state, is facing a “limited supply” of doses as the number of patients eligible for shots increases, a company spokeswoman said Monday.
“We anticipate that in the weeks ahead, demand will continue to be greater than supply,” she said.
So far, almost 70% of Marin residents 16 and older have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. Almost 45% have been fully vaccinated, meaning they have either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, according to county data. Throughout California, about 27% of people have been fully vaccinated, the state reported Monday.
Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have hit their lowest point since the start of the winter surge in Marin. The latest figures from the county show that Marin’s hospitals were treating five coronavirus patients on Sunday, including two that required intensive care. The county’s hospitals saw their highest COVID-19 patient counts on Jan. 3, when 39 people hospitalized with the disease.
Over the past two weeks, 125 Marin residents have tested positive for the coronavirus. Less than 1% of tests are coming back with positive results, according to the county’s latest data. At Marin’s skilled nursing homes and assisted-living centers, where staff and residents were among the first to qualify for vaccines, there were four active COVID-19 cases on Monday. That included two infected residents and two staff members, county data show.
The Bay Area News Group contributed to this report.