Others beating Nevada County in vaccine rollout
Some nearby counties have advanced through the first phase of COVID-19 inoculations, and have set up online registration systems for people to sign up for a shot.
Eligible residents in some neighboring counties — El Dorado, Placer and Yuba — can sign up online for the vaccinations as they are made available. Nevada County’s Department of Public Health has yet to start the registration process.
Taylor Wolfe, Nevada County public information officer, said the county has so far administered 3,000 available doses of the vaccine. There are around 6,000 people within the county that fall within the original parameters for Tier 1A, health care workers.
Of the 100,000 people who live within the county’s boundaries, 35,000 are over 65 and qualify to receive the vaccine, Wolfe said.
Wolfe said the state provides updates on incoming vaccines to Nevada County public health officials on a weekly basis. The number of vaccines issued is notably inconsistent.
“In weeks past, we sometimes received zero vaccines,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe recalled the public’s outcry a few weeks back after a previous news release reported the county only received 100 vaccinations over a seven-day period.
“People are eager to be vaccinated,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe said county officials share residents’ concerns, especially because the percentage of Nevada County residents over 65 years old is twice that of the state average, and are lobbying at the state level to get more vaccinations.
Nevada County announced earlier this week that information regarding the regional availability of coronavirus vaccines would be distributed when available via the county’s 211 information number.
Wolfe said Nevada County expects to rollout vaccines for those 65 and older in early February.
According to the El Dorado County website, Phase 1A of the vaccine rollout has been completed.
Twenty-two percent of El Dorado County’s 190,000 residents are 65 years or older, the United States Census reports. El Dorado County was allotted over twice the vaccines given to Nevada County — 14,325 — as of Tuesday.
Carla Hass, El Dorado County public information officer, said the availability of the vaccine clinics, for which interested parties can sign up online, depends on the county’s weekly shipment of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Currently, there is no availability.
“The state provides a framework, but there’s a little bit of latitude given to the counties to determine how they’ll move within that framework,” Hass said.
Hass said if a county is sitting on unused vaccines, their intent may be to use them as a second dose for the original recipients. Hass said counties can sub-prioritize the phases to serve particular demographics as they see fit, even offering it to only those 75 years old and over.
Hass said the federal government allocates a number of vaccines to the state and, in turn, the state will distribute those to multi-county entities, county public health offices and through Indian Health Services.
Hass said the federal government allocates directly to a pharmacy partnership.
“CVS and Walgreens will get vaccines,” Hass explained.
Placer and El Dorado counties’ coronavirus webpages list the addresses and phone numbers of Safeways with tentative vaccine clinics.
All vaccine clinics in Yuba County are currently booked.
Yuba County has a population of 72,150, according to the census, with 13.1% over age 65.
Yuba County’s Public Information Officer Russ Brown said, like El Dorado County, Yuba County has completed Phase 1A.
Brown said residents may make appointments through their health care provider, clinics or specific pharmacies.
“People are able to register as vaccines become available,” Brown said. “The federal and state guidelines changed, so 65 year olds and older are able to be vaccinated sooner, but it’s still a priority for health care workers as well.”
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer for the Sierra Sun and The Union, a sister publication of the Sun.
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Local coronavirus cases grew by only eight on Tuesday, bringing the county’s new total to 3,979.