SAN RAFAEL (KPIX) – As the Bay Area’s supply of coronavirus vaccines increases, many who tried to vaccinate have received their shots and now the counties are faced with the challenge of convincing those who are reluctant to follow them.
A month ago the problem was getting vaccinations, but now, in places like Marin County, many barriers are gone. On Saturday, Grace Backof’s vaccination experience wasn’t what she feared.
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“There is easy parking, no crowds,” said the resident of Belvedere / Tiburon. “We didn’t have to wait, we just went in.”
Gone are the long lines and the frustrating search for an appointment. At the Marin County Fairgrounds in San Rafael, they now have more vaccine doses than they take. Laine Hendricks, the county information officer, said appointments are still a good idea, but even those who leave without an appointment can get vaccinated
“Anyone who was frustrated by the hassle of online appointments or who didn’t want to wait in long lines and thought I’ll just wait until it’s all gone” – now is the time, “she said.
At this point, over 80 percent of eligible Marin County’s residents have received at least one shot, and more than half are fully vaccinated. Now the challenge is to get the vaccine into people who either cannot access the system or are reluctant to do so.
“I know there are people who hesitate or think there is a reason not to,” said Greg Sieck, a Marin resident. “I think it’s kind of silly.”
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It is true that there are some people who just don’t want the shot but others can’t get to the mass vaccination sites easily. The district is now doing public relations work for them and setting up pop-up clinics in their neighborhood.
“It brings the vaccine closer to those communities where access to the Marin Center can be a barrier,” said Hendricks.
The goal is to achieve herd immunity where at least eight out of ten people are completely immune. In a video posted on YouTube, the county health officer, Dr. Matthew Willis, why is that.
“The likelihood of the virus finding a host – someone who is vulnerable – when 80 percent of the people around that person are protected is much, much less,” he said. “So let’s start looking at the concept of herd immunity.”
And here is the real hope. Marin County officials warn this is not the time for people to let go of their watch. Hendricks said the virus could still spread until people were vaccinated and then wait the required two weeks for full immunity to be established.
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“In this way we as a community can end the reach of COVID-19,” she said.