Sonoma County received an increase of vaccine doses in its weekly COVID-19 vaccine allocation this week after county officials inquired with the state about why Sonoma's allocation size had not changed since February.
Sonoma County's vaccine allotment increased from roughly 12,000 first and second doses to nearly 17,000, according to county officials, including 1,500 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
County Board of Supervisors Chair Lynda Hopkins sent a letter on the board's behalf March 27 to Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly and Government Operations Agency Secretary Yolanda Richardson after the county had increased its weekly vaccination capacity to 40,000 doses but had not seen a coinciding increase in its supply.
"We have been concerned that our allocations from the state had remained flat for weeks," Hopkins said, noting the county's appreciation for the increased allocation. "This limited supply was unacceptable to us, especially since we have built a network of vaccination clinics that can administer six times that amount."
The J&J doses will nearly double the county's supply of the one-shot vaccines, which Hopkins argued in her letter were crucial to immunizing populations like unhoused people that may find it cumbersome to get vaccinated in two doses as is required for the vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Prior to Hopkins' letter, the county had only received one allocation of J&J vaccine, amounting to 1,700 doses.
The county plans to reserve 1,200 of the 1,500 new J&J doses for its six federally qualified health centers and the other 300 doses for Fox Home Health, which is working to vaccinate unhoused residents and home-bound seniors.
To date, 318,588 vaccine doses have been administered in the county, with 120,688 residents already fully vaccinated and another 84,542 residents waiting on their second dose.
Roughly half of the county's residents age 16 and up have received at least one dose, according to county officials.
"We appreciate the increase in vaccine doses, and we want to thank Secretary Richardson for listening to our appeal and acknowledging our equity effort," Hopkins said. "Now, thanks to this surge in doses, we will continue to prioritize our equity efforts as we distribute the vaccine to the most vulnerable and under-served communities."