Sonoma County received an increase of COVID-19 vaccine doses in its weekly allotment this week, after county officials asked the state why its allocation size had not changed since February.
Shipments increased from roughly 12,000 first and second doses to nearly 17,000, according to county officials, including 1,500 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
On March 27, after the county increased its weekly vaccination capacity to 40,000 but did not see a coinciding increase in supply, County Board of Supervisors Chair Lynda Hopkins sent a letter on the board's behalf to Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly and Government Operations Agency Secretary Yolanda Richardson .
"We have been concerned that our allocations from the state had remained flat for weeks," Hopkins said. "This limited supply was unacceptable to us, especially since we have built a network of vaccination clinics that can administer six times that amount."
The J&J doses will nearly double the county's supply of the one-shot vaccines, which Hopkins argued in her letter were crucial to immunizing populations such as people who are homeless, who may find it cumbersome to be vaccinated in two doses, a requirement for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
Prior to Hopkins' letter, the county had only received one allocation of J&J vaccine, amounting to 1,700 doses.
The county plans to reserve 1,200 of the 1,500 new J&J doses for its six federally qualified health centers and the other 300 for Fox Home Health, which is working to vaccinate unhoused residents and homebound seniors.
To date, almost 333,000 vaccine doses have been administered in the county, with more than 133,000 residents already fully vaccinated and around 67,000 waiting on a second dose.
Roughly half of the county's residents age 16 and up have received at least one dose, according to county officials.
"We appreciate the increase in vaccine doses, and we want to thank Secretary Richardson for listening to our appeal and acknowledging our equity effort," Hopkins said. "Now, thanks to this surge in doses, we will continue to prioritize our equity efforts as we distribute the vaccine to the most vulnerable and under-served communities."
—Bay City News