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Dr. Sergienko Gives Update on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine And Community Events

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Sonora, CA —  The first shipment of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Tuolumne County yesterday.

Health officials are determining how to disperse the initial hundreds of doses that arrived. State and federal agencies say they should currently be given to people who will have difficulty following up to get a second dose. Interim Tuolumne County Health Officer, Dr. Eric Sergienko says, “It could be anything from people who are being transferred from an acute care hospital to a long-term care facility, it could be our homeless population, it could be migrant workers, our jail population, or anyone who it could be challenging to get the second dose to.”

As more types of vaccines become available, he stresses, “Really the best vaccine to get is the one that is available to you now. If you are offered a vaccine, take it. They all are effective and work in different ways. They are all good at protecting against serious illness and hospitalization.”

The other vaccines being distributed locally are Moderna and Pfizer, which require two doses.

On a different topic, the Mother Lode is home to various popular community events and festivals throughout the spring and summer months. Asked if the state is anticipated to revise the rules so that they can take place, he said, ”The short answer is yes. We do anticipate some change in ‘gathering guidance,’ but we don’t know when it is going to happen or what it is going to look like. But we do want people to start planning for their events, but also anticipating that some things may change.”

He expects that it will likely be around the end of June when larger gatherings can again proceed, and organizers should begin looking now into disease reduction and mitigation measures related to things like social distancing and sanitary improvements.

Also serving as Mariposa’s Public Health Officer, he noted that he has been working with organizers of a traditional May Butterfly Festival, and they are moving the event to July. “We just don’t think the conditions are going to be right yet in May for large gatherings.”

What type of events can place, and the scope, will likely depend on whether counties are in the purple, red or orange tiers. New guidance from the state could come as early as this month.