Sonoma County to open vaccination sites at veteran's hall, local gyms

Sonoma County will open two new vaccination clinics this week, each aiming to administer 300 doses per day.

This is also the first week of a lower age threshold, from 75 down to 70.

"We know our oldest residents have suffered the worst outcome in this pandemic," Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin said at a Monday afternoon briefing.

Gorin expressed hope the pool of candidates could be widened again soon to include people as young as 65. 

"This stairstep approach will ensure our 102,000 seniors will be offered vaccinations without overwhelming the system," she said.

On Tuesday, a campus gym becomes the newest vaccine site for Sonoma County.

Located on the Petaluma campus of Santa Rosa Junior College, it will be available to seniors 70 and older, by appointment. 

Another clinic will debut at Huerta Gym in Windsor on Wednesday. 

And on Tuesday, Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Hall in Sonoma will launch mass vaccinations. 

"We're really ramping up our vax effort as we move into larger population groups," said Matt Brown, a spokesperson for the County of Sonoma.

As always, success will depend on vaccine delivery.

"We don't know long-term, we know week to week, how many vaccines we are getting from the state," said Brown, "but lately we've been receiving about 7,000 to 7,500 doses weekly."

Officials expressed satisfaction that about 14% of the county's adult population has been protected.

"In six weeks we have gotten to 14% and we have a long way to go but we're making good progress," said Dr. Urmila Shende, Sonoma County Vaccine Director.

Attention expands next to childcare workers and the agricultural labor force.

A two-day clinic at Guerneville Elementary School vaccinated more than 300 farm and winery workers.

Their frontline jobs and multi-generational living situations, tend to put them at higher risk.

"We know through contact tracing that most transmissions occur at home due to someone who brings it into the home from outside," said Shende.

At Rancho Cotate High School, another milestone: the beginning of mass vaccination for Sonoma County school teachers and staff.

By week's end, the County Office of Education expects to have 1,100 educators vaccinated, and build from there. 

And 11 Safeway stores across the county will be offering vaccinations at their pharmacies, by appointment, expecting to do 20 to 30 shots per day.

A complete list of sites and information about eligibility is available here.

People who are insured are still asked to go through their medical providers before trying other options.

And for the many people still waiting, and frustrated?

"There will be hiccups along the way and we understand that and we ask for patience," said Brown.

"We're all basically building the plane as we fly it and standing up a massive vaccination effort, all of that in under two months."

By next week, Sonoma County expects to have 19 vaccination sites, including the 11 Safeway locations.

Only the clinic at the Rohnert Park Community Center will remain geared to the oldest patients, with the minimum age remaining at 75.

Debora Villalon is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Debora at and follow her on Twitter@DeboraKTVU