Highest vaccination rate in California

The pocket of California which has become a leader in vaccinations against Covid-19 may come as a surprise. Seventy-eight percent of pe...


The pocket of California which has become a leader in vaccinations against Covid-19 may come as a surprise.

Seventy-eight percent of people living in Marin County are fully vaccinated against Covid – the highest rate of any county in California (and pretty much anywhere in the country).

But Marin County, a wealthy enclave across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, has always been a hotbed of anti-vaccine sentiment, a place many have long avoided routine vaccinations.

There are a few possible explanations for this apparent turnaround: The coronavirus pandemic has made the need for vaccinations very real while changing the policy around vaccines. And the anti-vaccine reputation aside, Marin County fits the profile of a highly vaccinated place: wealthy, educated, and liberal.

But perhaps more importantly, vaccinations against Covid-19 have so far been mostly limited to adults, with vaccine resistance having long focused on the possible effects on young children – for whom Covid-19 vaccines are only available this week.

“What we think of as anti-vaccines – and Marin historically – is deeply rooted in childhood vaccinations,” Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told me. “I think you are already seeing some people balk at having to vaccinate their children, even if they are vaccinated themselves.”

Marin County officials say they hope to give the first doses to 75% of 5 to 11 year olds, the most recent group eligible for a coronavirus vaccine, by early December. But many see it as an overly ambitious goal, especially in Marin.

Dr Christopher Longhurst, a pediatrician who worked at Stanford for many years, remembers treating children in neighboring Marin County infected with measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Longhurst told me about a 6 week old child in the intensive care unit who was admitted with pertussis, a condition for which the infant was too young to be vaccinated.

The baby lived in a part of Marin County where, due to low levels of childhood immunization, “herd immunity had evaporated,” he said. The infection killed the child.

“Long before Covid, I was a very big advocate for vaccines,” he said.

In Marin County in May, an unvaccinated teacher spread the coronavirus to half of the students in a classroom. And this week, the county became the first in the Bay Area to lift his mandate as an interior mask, a decision that some have criticized given recent plateau of Covid-19 cases.

But Marin County mostly played the role of cautious Covid County. Even when Governor Gavin Newsom announced a Compulsory Covid-19 vaccine for students, the strictest in the country, there was little decline.

TO recent demonstration in Sacramento against the mandate, families in the Bay Area, and in particular in Marin County, were largely absent.

“We still have pockets of very virulent vaccine refusals,” said county health worker Dr Matt Willis. The San Francisco Chronicle, but “it is clear that the community culture has changed.

For years resistance to childhood vaccinations was something embraced by the hippie types on the left. But opposition to Covid-19 vaccines is associated with President Donald J. Trump, an unlikely position in Marin County, where 82% of voters voted for President Biden in 2020.

Yet things often get complicated when kids get involved. Already, the Covid-19 vaccination rates for 12 to 17 year olds in California are lower than those of older age groups: 60% compared to 71% for 18 to 49 year olds.

Rates may drop even more for the last group to become eligible for an injection, since parents tend to be especially protective of young children.

Although Covid-19 has become a major cause of death in children, some parents may be more hesitant to vaccinate children because their risk of serious illness is much lower than that of adults.

In a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 27 percent of parents nationwide said they wanted to immunize their children ages 5 to 11 immediately. Thirty percent said they definitely would not get their shots.

“I am interested to see if the enthusiasm and mass adoption of vaccinations that we have seen in some areas” will translate into vaccinations for children, Bibbins-Domingo told me. “I think people expect us not to get the high rates that we see in adults.”

For more:

Today’s travel tip comes from Monica Vincent, who recommends Nevada City, which is about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento:

On my first visit, we discovered Hirschman’s pond, which made me feel at home with the beauty and nature that surround this well-preserved little town from the gold rush on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Surrounded by forests, other gold rush towns like Grass Valley and the Yuba River, Nevada City transports you to another era.

Arriving on the outskirts of town, you cross Deer Creek, which runs through downtown as a reminder that this is a town rooted in the search for gold. The city’s historic buildings are now home to restaurants, shops, museums, and the historic Nevada Theater. They have film festivals, music events, and fairs. My favorite time to visit is winter. Little Nevada City transforms into a postcard image for Christmas when businesses and residents decorate the city with little white lights – when and if it snows, the beauty is breathtaking. The city is friendly and welcoming, discreet, but hip in a kind of small town. There are sweet BNBs and places to stay, eat and just hang out. The surrounding area is full of hiking trails – or just pack a picnic and head to Hirschman’s Pond and relax!

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.


I’ll let the first line of this article speak for itself: “Without two goats named Thelma and Louise, Lauren Trout and Chris Angeloro might not have had a love affair.

Trout and Angeloro tied the knot last month on a yacht sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge. Read more about The Times.


Thanks for reading. Have a good week-end. I’ll be back on Monday. – Soumya

PS here the mini-crosswords of the day, and a clue: First sign of the zodiac (5 letters).

Steven Moity, Shivani Gonzalez, and Briana Scalia have contributed to California Today. You can join the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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