The county has a COVID-19 testing positivity rate of 0.9% overall and 1.3% positivity for the lowest quarter of people represented in the state's Healthy Places Index, which measures health factors among the county's most economically disadvantaged.
The lower positivity rate is one of three metrics the county will require under the multiple county criteria prior to relaxing the indoor mask mandate. To lift the mandate, a county would need to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's criteria for the moderate yellow tier for COVID-19 transmission for three consecutive weeks; 80% of the county's total population has had both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one shot of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine; and hospital rates must remain low and stable. Alternatively, the mandate could be lifted if eight weeks have passed since a COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by federal and state authorities for 5- to 11-year-olds.
The county corrected its data and found it has a larger percentage of unvaccinated people who are eligible to receive the vaccine than it previously tallied, at 67,000. Rogers said 72.5% of the total county population is fully vaccinated. The county's vaccination rates far surpass the nation's average, which is 57% for the fully vaccinated eligible population, she noted.
Dr. Anand Chabra, San Mateo County Health's COVID-19 mass vaccination section chief, said that Pfizer-BioNTech is asking the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines to be given to children aged 5 to 11 and a hearing is scheduled for Oct. 26. If approved, the vaccines could be available sometime in November, he said.
On Oct. 15, the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended making the one-shot Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine available for a second shot, which would improve immunity. The same panel voted Oct. 14 to recommend the Moderna vaccine booster to enhance waning immunity from that vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine received FDA approval for its booster shot on Sept. 22 for people who are ages 65 and older or are in eligible groups and have medical or work conditions that would make them likely to have severe COVID-19 infections.
Comprehensive COVID-19 coverage
View interactive charts tracking the spread of the coronavirus in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties online at paloaltoonline.atavist.com/tracking-the-coronavirus. Find a comprehensive collection of coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by The Almanac and its sister publications, Palo Alto Online, and the Mountain View Voice, at tinyurl.com/c19-Almanac.
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