Monterey County revises COVID-19 vaccination plan

Peninsula Premier Admin

SALINAS – Starting next week, those 65 and older who work in industries such as food and agriculture, child care, education and emergency services or who live in certain zip codes will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in Monterey County.

Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County’s health officer, made the announcement late Tuesday afternoon at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting.

Moreno said the county is using guidance from the state to revise its vaccination plan that includes moving into an aged-based and health status framework, among other criteria. Individuals age 75 and older are currently eligible for the vaccine.

Those 65 and older living in the zip codes of 95012, 95039, 95076 in North County, 95933, 95955 on the Peninsula and in Big Sur, 93901, 93905, 93906 in Salinas, and 93926, 93927, 93930, 93960 in South County will be eligible to receive their vaccine starting Feb. 17, along with those 65 and older working in certain industries.

“This strategy addresses the county residents most likely to die of COVID-19, while beginning to protect additional essential workers, and considers equity by offering the vaccine to individuals in communities historically burdened with poorer health and social outcomes,” read one of the slides in Moreno’s presentation.

Moreno reported the county has so far made significant progress through the first phase of eligible recipients, though some in that group still need to be vaccinated.

Due to the limited vaccine supply, the strategy is to focus first on the highest risk individuals – people 75 years of age and older are 220 to 630 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than 18- to 29-year-olds according to data Moreno pointed out.

Those 65 years and older have the highest incidents of hospitalizations, and deaths but make up 14% of the population in Monterey County.

The speed at which vaccination will occur is dependent on the supply of vaccine. At the current rate, for instance, it would take 12 weeks to administer the first dose to people 75 years and older. As more vaccine become available that time frame will decrease.

Other considerations the state is recommending include vaccination equity, for instance, Hispanics make up a high number of hospitalizations, 77%, and fatalities 63%, but account for 61% of the population in the county.

The county has yet to determine when they can start to vaccinate remaining residents 65 and older and individuals at risk of exposure while working in food and ag, child care and education and emergency services regardless of age.

Contributed by local news sources

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