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COVID and our community

 

Vaccines at the fair

By Shannon Lee

One of the informational booths at the Glen Ellen Village Fair last month was especially bustling with action. The Sonoma Valley Community Health Center (SVCHC) table was a place of conversation, information, and vaccination. SVCHC Outreach and Event Coordinator Maricarmen Reyes had never attended the fair before, “but really enjoyed it. It was a great way to connect with members of the community and provide important health services and information.”

The momentum for this connection started back in the summer when the North Sonoma Valley Municipal Advisory Council (NSVMAC) partnered with the SVCHC to help bring vaccines into this end of the valley. Their event at Abbott’s Passage in July brought in diverse community members and on that day 10 COVID vaccine (Pfizer) shots were given; 8 were first doses and 2 were second doses. At the Glen Ellen Village Fair, SVCHC administered a total of 21 COVID vaccines (Pfizer); 19 were boosters and 2 were first doses. They also gave 35 flu shots. Flu shots were not available at the Abbott’s Passage event due to the seasonality of that health recommendation.

SVCHC Development Director Alvaro Gonzalez together with Ms. Reyes want to “thank the North Sonoma Valley MAC, The Glen Ellen Fair Association, Abbott’s Passage and The Jack London Lodge for the advocacy, community awareness, and outreach assistance, and for providing the physical locations to safely and comfortably administer the vaccines during both of these events.”

Over the course of the pandemic, and as of Oct. 22 2021, the United States has logged 45,149,234 COVID-19 cases, representing 13.7% of the country’s population. California has seen 4,600,506 cases, which represents 11.6% of the state’s population. Sonoma County has seen a total of 40,622, cases which represents a little over 8.2% of the population. Our Glen Ellen zip code (95442) has seen 183 total cases, which represents 5.7% of our community’s population. Although cases have been highest in the county’s Hispanic/Latino population, in the last 60 days, there has been a shift to predominantly White, non-Hispanic individuals. This still does not match overall demographic patterns, and minorities in our county are seeing disproportionately higher cases.

One of the important metrics for moving to less restrictive health measures in Sonoma County involves vaccine benchmarks. On the whole, the county’s over age 12 population is currently 79% vaccinated, 7% partially vaccinated, and 14% unvaccinated. Self-identifying Black/African American individuals in our population lead the ethnicity break-down with 82% fully vaccinated, 9.2% partially vaccinated, and 8.6% unvaccinated. In residents over 70, more than 91% have been fully vaccinated. In terms of vaccination rates by region, the Glen Ellen zip code is still near the bottom of the list with only 59.2% fully vaccinated. Only two communities are lower, Calistoga and Annapolis. These numbers may be skewed due to other demographic considerations such as the percentage of second homeowners who are vaccinated but were counted in their primary county of residence, however, increasing vaccination rates across the county will move us all toward fewer restrictions (and greater herd protection) much faster.

Boosters are becoming more widely available (Moderna and the possibility of mixing types) but places like SVCHC have to wait for the “official word from public health. Although we expect the move to vaccinating children and the guidance on broader booster clearance to be coming very soon”, says Ms. Reyes. If you are looking for information on vaccines for COVID or for the seasonal flu you should consult their website at svchc.org or drop by one of their weekly clinics on site Wednesdays and Saturdays, and on Thursdays at La Luz. Appointments can be made via MyTurn.ca.gov but walk-ups are also accepted. Pediatric clinics specific to providing the COVID vaccine to patients under 12 will be established as soon as clearance makes that possible. Valley residents are encouraged to reach out via email to [email protected] with any questions.

Data presented in this article came from SVCHC, County of Sonoma, CDC COVID Data Tracker, and California Department of Public Health.

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