Santa Rosa, CA – December 3, 2021 – One in four Sonoma County children ages 5 to 11 are now fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19, an important milestone that means the county has achieved the first goal set by the Sonoma County Office of Education and county health officials for pediatric vaccinations.
More than 9,000 county children ages 5 to 11 have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine since it became available a month ago.
In addition to that achievement, the county announced today that 75 percent of eligible county residents who are age 5 and older are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while another 38,428 residents - or 8 percent of the county’s eligible population of 470,488 residents - have been partially vaccinated. About 350,000 people in the county have now been fully vaccinated.\
In announcing the beginning of pediatric vaccinations in Sonoma County on Oct. 20, the Sonoma County Office of Education, with support from the county Department of Health Services, set a goal of vaccinating a quarter of the 37,000 children in Sonoma County aged 5 to 11 by the beginning of December. The campaign, which includes the operation of clinics set up at key school sites around the county, also set a goal of vaccinating half of these children by Jan. 31 and 70 percent by Feb. 28.
Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s health officer, congratulated parents and children for embracing the need for the pediatric vaccine. She also emphasized how important it is to get more eligible children vaccinated and fully protected as we enter the winter months and the holidays and spend more time indoors, including in school.
“We are thrilled that so many of our younger children have received their first dose,” Dr. Mase said. “We are off to a good start, but we need to maintain our momentum. Everyone who has waited to get vaccinated should get their first dose as soon as possible. This is a winter virus, and it is still circulating in the community. Getting vaccinated will help contain the virus and save lives.”
County public health officials are collaborating with the Sonoma County Office of Education, community groups and health professionals to address parents’ questions about the pediatric vaccine and to let them know the vaccine is safe, effective, free and widely available.
The county’s pediatric vaccine campaign was planned with a focus on equity, including the operation of 40 vaccination clinics at school sites. The target sites for school-based clinics are in areas with recent high case rates, a high number of English learners, and with lower vaccination rates. Those doses are intended for those school populations but no one will be turned away who is eligible for a vaccine. Vaccines for those 12 and older also are available at the clinics. A list of school clinics and other information about the pediatric vaccine is available on the Sonoma County of Office website.
Upcoming clinics at schools:
- Cali Calmecac Language Academy, 9491 Starr Road, Windsor, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (707) 837-7747
- Monroe (James) School, 2567 Marlow Road, Santa Rosa, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (707) 890-3910
- Sassarini School, 652 Fifth St. West, Sonoma, Monday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (707) 935-6040
- Kawana Springs Elementary School, 2121 Moraga Dr., Santa Rosa, Tuesday, 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (707) 545-4283
- Altimira Middle School, 17805 Arnold Dr., Sonoma, Tuesday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (707) 935-6020
Dr. Mase also urged parents who have children ages 12 to 15 to get them vaccinated if they haven’t done so. Adolescents ages 12 to 15 became eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine in May. In Sonoma County, while about 70 percent of children ages 12 to 15 are now fully or partially vaccinated, the vaccination rate for that age group has slowed in the past month. The state has already made clear that school children will need to be vaccinated in order to attend school by the fall of 2022.
While severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children, they can become very sick. Almost 7 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Residents also are encouraged to get a booster shot now that all adults 18 and older are eligible. Anyone 18 or older can choose either a Pfizer or Moderna booster six months after their last dose. For anyone who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the wait is just two months. And people can mix-and-match boosters from any company.
To date, more than 84,000 county residents have received a booster shot, including 46,000 who are 65 or older. That is 60 percent of eligible residents who are 65 or older.
Dr. Mase emphasized that unvaccinated individuals continue to contract COVID-19 at far higher rates and have worse outcomes. Overall, the county’s number of new cases per day for unvaccinated individuals is 13.8 per 100,000 residents compared to 5.1 for vaccinated residents. Almost all of the 412 COVID-related deaths in the county have been unvaccinated residents.
Walk-ups are accepted at most clinics and pharmacies. Residents also may make appointments at the county’s vaccine clinic page or through the myturn.ca.gov web site. Residents who need help making an appointment are encouraged to call the county COVID-19 hotline at (707) 565-4667.
For more information, including the latest vaccine numbers, who’s eligible for a vaccine and how to receive a vaccine, community members are encouraged to visit SoCoEmergency.org/vaccine, or call 2-1-1.