Santa Rosa, CA – March 29, 2021 – The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Saturday, March 27, sent the following letter to state health leaders appealing for an increase in vaccines for Sonoma County "so that we can continue to support our community in an equitable and transparent way." The letter, sent by Chair Lynda Hopkins on behalf of the entire Board, was addressed to Mark Ghaly, California Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Yolanda Richardson, Secretary of the Government Operations Agency for the State of California:
RE: Sonoma County Request for Increased COVID-19 Vaccine Doses
Dear Secretary Ghaly and Richardson,
On behalf of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, I am writing in regard to the decreasing allocation of COVID-19 vaccine doses to Sonoma County. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Sonoma County quickly mobilized to lead local pandemic response, testing and equitable vaccination efforts in partnership with the State. We urge you to increase our vaccine allocation so that we can continue to support our community in an equitable and transparent way.
Sonoma County's allocations have remained flat since February averaging 15,000 doses per week when we have the capacity to vaccinate over 40,000 individuals per week.
As of this letter, Sonoma County has administered 268,824 doses across our population of 499,772, the highest ratio per-capita amongst medium-sized counties in California. The County has put significant efforts toward building an equitable vaccination program to keep pace with the announced increases in vaccine allocation. The County successfully increased vaccination capacity from 1,000 per week in early January to our current capacity of 40,000 per week. Unfortunately, our allocations have remained flat since February and include a single allocation of 1,700 Janssen vaccine doses received on February 28, 2021.
Sonoma County's allocations are projected to decrease over the next three weeks.
As of late yesterday, we were notified that our allocation has been decreased to 12,890 doses next week and is projected to decrease even further the following two weeks. Sonoma County has been a strong state partner, successfully ramping up capacity to meet the State's announcements of increased allocations. Significant resources have been directed to expanding our capacity to equitably distribute vaccines. It is disappointing that this effort has been met with a decreasing supply of vaccines for our community.
Sonoma County continues to prioritize equitable vaccine distribution.
We understand and support the State's effort to allocate vaccines equitably, and our efforts have centered on this guidance. Sonoma County has and will continue to prioritize vaccinating the lowest quartile census tracks in Sonoma County in addition to other demographics per state guidelines. Sonoma County also has the highest number of homeless residents (2,745) and the highest per-capita homeless rate amongst the "Largely Urban Continuum of Care's (CoC)" in the nation. A mobile vaccination clinic focusing on vaccinating homeless individuals was launched in Sonoma County as of this week. As the single-dose Janssen vaccine has been recommended by CDPH for groups that may have difficulty receiving a second dose, such as the unhoused, we should receive more Janssen vaccines in addition to our current allocations to reach this vulnerable population.
We urge you to increase Sonoma County's overall vaccine allocation so that we can continue to guide equitable vaccinations in our community.
We appreciate your leadership and urge your consideration and prioritization of this important request.
Lynda Hopkins, Chair
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors