Thousands of Bay Area kids get vaccinated ahead of possible winter COVID surge

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Just as thousands of Bay Area kids receive their first COVID-19 vaccine, California health officials warn of another possible surge in cases.

The immediate demand for pediatric COVID vaccines in the Bay Area has appointments filling up fast.

RELATED: Here's why CA may be on the verge of COVID-19 winter surge

For 5 to 11 year olds over the weekend:
  • Santa Clara County run clinics vaccinated 10,850 kids

  • Contra Costa Health Services vaccinated 933 kids

  • San Francisco's Department of Public Health doesn't have data yet, but one pediatric practice in the city vaccinated 500 patients

  • In Marin, at school vaccine sites, 2,367 kids received their first shot

None of the above numbers include shots given at pharmacies, which likely make the actual count much higher.

"We got 4,000 more doses today and we put those online," said Marin County Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis.

One of those doses will go to Dr. Willis' 11-year-old son.

Dr. Willis: "He'll be getting vaccinated tonight! He wanted me to do it."

Kate Larsen: "You're going to give him the vaccine?"

Dr. Willis: "Well, yeah! I'm a physician and I can vaccinate him and that's what he wanted."

Dr. Willis says vaccine uptake has exceeded his expectations, but he points out there's no time to waste if families want to be safe for the holidays. "If we really want that protection for the winter holidays, the window is this week, next week, the week after, because it's that second dose three weeks later and it takes two weeks after that to really have full protection. For parents seeking protection of the vaccine coming into the winter holidays, they may be travelling or having relatives visit, having safer indoor gatherings, now is the time to schedule an appointment."

On Monday, with COVID cases climbing, California's Department of Public Health warned of another possible winter COVID surge, urging Californians to get boosters and the 5 to 11-year-olds to quickly get their first shot.

"It's going to help decrease the amount of transmission, decrease how high a surge is, but I don't think it will be enough to prevent a surge. I think that cases will continue going up and down," said Dr. Jorge Salinas, a hospital epidemiologist at Stanford.

But even if it won't stop a surge in its tracks -- Dr. Salinas reminds everyone the vaccine prevents severe cases and bad outcomes. "As long as the virus remains relatively the same, upcoming surges should be less impactful on society compared to surges in previous months or years."

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