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May 6, 2021
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Age of eligibility for vaccines to drop to 70 in West County

By: Brandon McCapes
February 12, 2021

Starting Feb. 15, Sonoma County residents over the age of 65 will be eligible to receive Covid-19 vaccinations. 

Since Feb. 5, the county has made vaccines available to only those over 70 years old, as well as some essential workers. Prior to that, the age of eligibility was limited to those above 75 years of age, as they are the most vulnerable to severe Covid-19-related illness.

According to the West County Health Centers website, those who live in West County zip codes and meet certain criteria will be eligible to receive the vaccine at one of the two vaccination sites set up at Guerneville Elementary School in Guerneville and Analy High School in Sebastopol.

“In partnership with the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, Sonoma County Office of Education, 5th District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, and other community leaders, West County Health Centers is committed to an equitable distribution of no cost COVID-19 vaccines to our rural communities, including our most vulnerable and marginalized populations,” the website states.

During Phase 1a of the county’s vaccination plan, in coordination with the Sonoma County Health Department, healthcare personnel, including in-home supportive service providers, veterinarians, laboratory staff, pharmacists and others were prioritized, along with those aged 70 years or older. The eligibility also extended to essential workers in the food and agriculture industries, including farm and field workers and food and beverage producers (including beer and wine makers).

Educators with direct pupil contact and essential childcare workers have also been eligible to receive the vaccine.

On Feb. 15, in addition to the age of eligibility dropping to 65, all essential education workers will become eligible as well.

WCHC advises only those truly eligible to receive a vaccine to schedule an appointment through SoCo Emergency, as canceling appointments for those ineligible puts an unnecessary strain on staff.

WHCH’s website states the organization will learn how many vaccines will be available for administration mid-week and will post the vaccination dates for the upcoming week by 8 p.m. each Wednesday.

Vaccinations offered through the county-sponsored sites are free of charge. WHCH is also looking for volunteers with medical and administrative experience to help during the local vaccine roll-out.

Vaccine sites are accessible to residents with physical disabilities, and bilingual staff are available to help members of the Spanish-speaking community.