SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Sonoma County leaders are promising a better, more equitable rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to protect the most vulnerable residents.
Leaders promised to take action after thousands of people signed up for vaccines that were meant for people 75 and older.
County leaders say COVID cases are declining from the holiday surge, and they are moving closer to moving out of the purple tier.
Despite the news, leaders say they still want to make sure the most vulnerable citizens are protected against the virus and make sure mistakes like the one last week, don’t happen again.
A pledge for a more equitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“In reality, there’s not just one group of vulnerable people and there’s not just one outcome we need to consider. At the county we’re evaluating how people who have a higher risk of contracting covid are those who are going to work every day to care for our children, to make sure food makes it to the grocery store, food is growing in the fields, and other essential jobs,” Lynda Hopkins, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, said.
The actions come after the county set up a vaccination clinic for some 36,000 people over the age of 75.
Instead some 6,000 people under the age of 75 flooded online appointments, due to a glitch on the website behind the appointments.
The appointments were canceled.
Leaders admitted mistakes and say the website has been fixed but stressed the need to vaccinate those over the age of 75.
“Seniors 75 and older have accounted for nearly two-thirds of all of the COVID deaths in Sonoma County,” Hopkins said.
During the town hall, leaders say they want to remove barriers to those who need the vaccines.
Some of the solutions, working with senior organizations to help older people get to sites, and follow up on the next doses.
Partner with minority communities, to ease fears about the vaccine in the Latinx and black communities.
“The people that we’re planning for, we really need to make sure we see them wholly. We need to design for somebody who to serve that person who is non-English speaking, to serve someone who is working, 2 maybe 3 full-time jobs, serving someone who does not have access to a primary care doctor, someone who isn’t connected to technology barriers,” Alegria De La Cruz, Sonoma County Director of Equity, said.
While leaders say they are committed to making sure the plan works they, like so many others, are in desperate need of vaccines in order to make it happen.
“Our ability to vaccinate our population depends as always on the vaccine supply that we receive from the state. This week we received 7,425 doses, which is up from last week, but is still not enough to vaccinate everyone at the same time,” Dr. Urmila Shende, Sonoma County COVID-19 vaccine chief, said.
So far, the county has administered more than 50,000 doses of the vaccine.