More people seeking to get the COVID-19 vaccination will now have the opportunity as the health department has opened the eligibility to those over age 50 in the food and agriculture, education, and emergency services sectors starting Feb. 22.
Stanislaus County residents over the age of 65 and healthcare workers will continue to be able to receive the vaccine.
As Stanislaus County continues to expand its capacity to administer the vaccine, vaccine supply allocations from the State remain limited. A total of 55,550 doses of the vaccine have been allocated to Stanislaus County — not including vaccines provided directly through a federal program for residents and staff of long-term care facilities and hospitals. Of the total number of vaccine doses given to the county, 26,625 were designated to healthcare providers and 28,925 for public health.
To provide accessibility to residents in Stanislaus County, four high volume mass vaccination clinics are operating in cities of Modesto, Turlock, Patterson and Oakdale. The County is also working on a Mobile Vaccination Unit to make accessibility to the COVID‐19 vaccine as convenient and equitable as possible, particularly in neighborhoods that were impacted most by the pandemic.
While the County is working on vaccinating as many residents as possible, the health department emphasized that it is critical that all residents continue to follow the recommendations to wear a mask, avoid gatherings, wash hands often, stay 6 feet from others whenever in public places, and get tested if exposed or experiencing symptoms. These steps, along with vaccines, are essential in ending the pandemic by stopping the spread of COVID‐ 19 and protecting the community, according to health officials.
Vaccines are available to residents regardless of health coverage or provider status. Proof of employment or residency in Stanislaus County is required. Community members are encouraged to visit www.schsa.org/coronavirus for more information. Vaccines and clinic related updates will also be posted on StanEmergency social media platforms.
As of Friday, Stanislaus County has recorded 48,577 positive cases of COVID-19 and 894 deaths.
California will also soon expand its list of people eligible for coronavirus vaccinations by another 4 million to 6 million people by adding the severely disabled and those with health conditions that put them at high risk for infection and death, state Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Friday.
Among those who will become eligible on March 15 are people with certain cancer, heart, lung and kidney conditions, as well as pregnant women, those with Down syndrome, organ transplant recipients and the severely obese. They join people 65 and over and those in high-risk job descriptions who already were eligible under the state's plan.
California has been plagued by vaccine shortages and Ghaly couldn't say how long it will take for the state to vaccinate the estimated 17 million to 19 million people who will be eligible for the vaccine once the new additions are made.
"Without that crystal ball on the allocation it's going to be really hard to answer," he said. The nation's most populous state can expect to receive more than 1 million doses each week at least for the next few weeks, Ghaly said.
Each of the current vaccines — Pfizer and Moderna — require two doses for full effectiveness. So it takes 1 million shots to cover 500,000 people.
Judy Mark, the president of Disability Voices United, thanked the state for moving up vaccinations for disabled people but said it should be immediate.
"The March 15 effective date may be too late for many people with disabilities who could die from COVID in the meantime," she said in a statement.
Ghaly said the extra time is needed for the state to ramp up capacity. Some people with disabilities or certain health conditions will be harder to reach because they need to be vaccinated at home, he said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state recognizes that those with certain physical and intellectual disabilities are "uniquely vulnerable."
"I want the disability community to know, we've heard you, and we're going to do more and better to provide access, even with the scarcity," he said while touring a mass vaccination site in San Francisco.
— Associated Press contributed to this report.