By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Unvaccinated residents in San Bernardino County are eight times more likely to get COVID-19 and 32 times more likely to die from the disease than residents who are fully vaccinated, according to County data from February 1 to today.
“I urge people who are sitting on the fence or who have not had a chance to get vaccinated to walk up to one of our vaccination sites as soon as possible or make an appointment and come in and get your shot,” said San Bernardino County Health Officer Michael Sequeira, M.D. “I don’t want anyone to end up hospitalized with severe illness or to die when we have a vaccine now fully approved by the FDA that offers protection for you and those around you.”
FDA Approval Now that the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people ages 16 and older, people who were waiting for that milestone to be reached can now get vaccinated by finding a location at sbcovid19.com and making an appointment or walking up to a County vaccination clinic. The Pfizer vaccine is now being marketed under the name Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee).
Equity Goal Achieved This week, the County’s multi-department vaccination team reached a significant equity goal by administering vaccines to 100,000 people in neighborhoods that are considered the by the State of California to be the most at risk.
Operation NXT 100,000 was launched by County departments in July to focus on engaging and vaccinating the next 100,000 residents located in Quartile 1 of the state’s Healthy Places Index. Partnerships were developed with city leaders, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, schools and the state to develop equity-focused messaging and relationships to reach different communities. More than 150 strategic vaccination events were held and planned in partnership with community-based activities, and the County’s health ambassadors provided education about the vaccine to community groups and organizations. Because of those efforts, 53.4 percent, or 497,734 of residents in these communities are now vaccinated compared with 394,946 less than a month ago. “We reached people by telephone to assist with scheduling vaccination appointments and got information from them to understand what was driving their vaccine hesitancy,” said San Bernardino County Public Health Director Josh Dugas. “Our data team developed an interactive map to assist with identifying areas of high case rates, high variant rates, low vaccination rates and overall demographic data. We are very proud to have accomplished this important goal.”
Booster Doses The next chapter for the County’s vaccination effort is providing third-dose vaccines to immunocompromised people and after Sept. 20, providing booster shots for all Americans eight months following their second dose of mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna. The criteria for the immune-compromised was determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and includes people who have: • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood• Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system• Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system• Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)• Advanced or untreated HIV infection• Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response If you are an immune-compromised person and want to make an appointment for a third-dose vaccine, visit sbcovid19.com. You do not need to provide medical proof of your condition, but will be asked to fill out a self-attestation form.