JOINT NEWS RELEASE: Marin County Public Health and Ritter Center Join Forces to Vaccinate Marin’s Most Vulnerable
For Immediate Release
April 19, 2021
Community Clinic and Public Health Partner to Vaccinate Marin’s Most Vulnerable
Clinic’s access to federal vaccine supply mitigates local shortages
San Rafael, CA – As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility widens in Marin County, local health leaders are partnering to ensure individuals experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable groups have an opportunity to access the vaccine.
Until this week, Marin County Public Health has relied exclusively on the State of California for vaccine doses. Limitations on state supply have largely determined the pace of vaccinations countywide. That changed this week as significantly more doses were made available directly to local community clinics by the federal government.
Marin County Public Health has joined forces with Ritter Center, a San Rafael-based federally qualified health center, to help deliver COVID-19 vaccine doses to underserved communities in Marin, using a vaccine allocation from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.
The new collaboration is targeting COVID-19 vaccine doses for:
- residents of public or low-income housing
- those experiencing homelessness
- migratory or agricultural workers
- those with limited English proficiency
- people who receive medical care from a local community clinic such as Marin Community Clinics, Ritter Center, Marin City Health and Wellness, or Coastal Health Alliance
- those receiving benefits from Medi-Cal, CalWORKs (TANF), CalFresh (SNAP), Women, Infant and Children Services (WIC), or the National School Lunch Program (free or reduced-price meals)
- people who live in areas defined by the Healthy Places Index. In Marin, that means the northern half of West Marin, parts of downtown Novato and San Rafael, and the Santa Venetia, Los Ranchitos, and Las Gallinas areas in northern San Rafael.
“The Ritter Center has always been a small but mighty partner in keeping our most vulnerable residents healthy,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. “Its role in the vaccine plan has been so impactful. The staff there has really stepped forward to make sure all residents, even those who are hardest to reach, have access to the vaccine.”
To expand access for those who are unsheltered and living in encampments, the County of Marin is utilizing mobile vaccination clinics to be able to vaccinate those who meet the eligibility criteria throughout the county.
Ritter Center, which started in 1980, has partnered with the County of Marin on many programs and projects related to ending homelessness and preventing homelessness.
“We are grateful for Marin County Public Health’s support during this important time in the fight against COVID-19,” said Mark Shotwell, Ritter Center Executive Director. “Our partnership with the County is a natural extension of Ritter Center’s mission to provide access to primary health care to people who have historically and systematically been underserved, including those who have disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. By working together, we can vaccinate the most vulnerable of our neighbors in need, simultaneously addressing issues of health education and access, which will benefit the individual and the entire Marin community.”
Marin County Public Health is leveraging the federal vaccine allocation to focus on those priority groups while allowing the state allotment to be available for the general public. As a result, Marin County Public Health’s vaccine supply is now open to all residents age 16 & over, with new vaccine appointments available at its Marin Center vaccine site. Anyone who lives or works in Marin County is encouraged to make an appointment online at GetVaccinatedMarin.org. Vaccines are free and available regardless of insurance status. Patients of Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, United Healthcare, and all other major insurance systems are welcome to register for a vaccine appointment with Marin County Public Health.
Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Department of Health and Human Services
415 473-4163 T
CRS Dial 711 [email protected] www.marinhhs.org
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
Marin County Emergency Operations Center & County Administrator’s Office 415 359-4508
CRS Dial 711