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Calaveras Hears Update On Efforts To Knockout COVID-19

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San Andreas, CA — The Interim Health Officer for Calaveras County hinted that the upcoming Johnson & Johnson vaccine may help trigger a turning point in putting an end to COVID-19.

The Calaveras Board of Supervisors heard an update from health officials at today’s meeting. Interim Health and Human Services Director Samuel Leach opened the presentation by stating that 4,646 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the county, compared to 2,080 doses two weeks ago. “We’re gaining momentum,” he noted.

Getting vaccine is still a challenge. 800 new doses arrived in Calaveras within the past week.

Interim Public Health Officer Dr. Paul Beatty added that Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have both been utilized locally, and the AstraZeneca version may soon be added to the mix. However, he indicated the biggest bump in available supply is still a few weeks down the line. He enthused excitement that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will seek a federal emergency use authorization on February 26.

“It has some stellar qualities,” said Dr. Beatty. “It is inexpensive, effective, and Johnson & Johnson suggested that they might be able to make a billion doses. That would put us in a very good spot where we could open up clinics in Arnold, Copperopolis, Valley Springs and the whole county.”

Adding, “I await that, and really look forward to doing more vaccinations because that is what it is going to take for us to get to the President’s goal of 100-million shots (nationwide) in a hundred days.”

If everything falls into place, he hopes the Mother Lode will be in a much different place six months or so from now.

“I hope that at the end of summer and fall we are tracking down the last cases and ending this COVID pandemic, forever…. It will take a great deal of work and concentration. I hope we are up for the task.”

The presentation also featured leaders from Mark Twain Medical Center, a key partner in the county’s response.

In the short-term, Leach added that the county is looking into ways to expand its vaccine clinics. Noting, “I don’t think we are going to build a football stadium, but we are making plans for if the supply increases and we can justify doing larger scale drive-through clinics. We would love to bring those to the community.”

The current tier for those in Calaveras eligible for the vaccine includes people like health care workers, emergency responders, those at long-term care facilities, educators, agriculture workers and those 65 and up.