SAN RAFAEL (KPIX) — As the Bay Area’s supply of coronavirus vaccine ramps up, many who were eager to be vaccinated have received their shots and now counties face the challenge of convincing those who are hesitant to follow them.
Just a month ago, the problem was obtaining vaccinations but now, in places like Marin County, a lot of the obstacles have disappeared. On Saturday, Grace Backof’s vaccination experience was not what she had been fearing.READ MORE: Farms, Ranches In Southern Santa Clara County Grapple With Worsening Drought
“There’s easy parking, no crowds,” said the Belvedere/Tiburon resident. “We had no wait, we just walked right in.”
Gone are the long lines and frustrating searches for an appointment. At the Marin County Fairgrounds site in San Rafael, they now have more vaccine doses than they have takers. County public information officer Laine Hendricks said appointments are still a good idea but even those who walk up without one can get vaccinated
“Anybody who was frustrated by the online appointment hassle or didn’t want to wait in really long lines and thought ‘I’ll just wait until that’s not a thing anymore’ — now is the time,” she said.
At this point, over 80 percent of eligible Marin County residents have received at least one shot and more than half are fully vaccinated. Now the challenge becomes getting the vaccine into people who either can’t access the system or are hesitant to do so.
“I know there are people who are reluctant or who believe there’s some reason not to do it,” said Marin resident Greg Sieck. “I think it’s kind of silly.”READ MORE: 5 Boats Burn, 4 Destroyed in the Delta Near Bethel Island
It’s true there are some people who just don’t want the shot but others can’t easily get to the mass-vaccination sites. For them, the county is now doing outreach, setting up pop-up clinics in their neighborhoods.
“It’s bringing vaccine closer to those communities where accessing Marin Center may be a barrier,” Hendricks said.
The goal is to reach herd immunity, where at least eight out of ten people are fully immune. In a video posted to YouTube, the county’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Matthew Willis, explained why that is.
“The likelihood that the virus will find a host — someone who is susceptible — when 80 percent of people around that person are protected, is much, much lower,” he said. “So, we’re starting to get into the concept of herd immunity.”
And that’s where the true hope lies. Marin County officials are warning this is not the time for people to let their guard down. Hendricks said the virus can still spread until people get vaccinated and then wait the required two weeks for full immunity to be established.MORE NEWS: COVID: Service Industry Employers Lament Lack of People Willing to Fill Open Jobs
“That’s how we’re going to be able to, as a community, find an end to COVID-19’s reach,” she said.