vaccine progress

Monterey County has reached a 70-percent Covid-19 vaccination rate among residents age 12 and up, a threshold that many experts agree is necessary to achieve herd immunity. The Monterey County Health Department announced the achievement on Twitter earlier today.

The county hovered at around the 67-percent mark for at least the last two weeks as the demand for vaccinations dwindled. Since last Monday, July 12, the last time vaccination data was updated, the rate rose 3 percent, according to the Health Department.

The range for achieving herd immunity is between 65-85 percent, depending on which expert is asked, but the majority agree on a 70-80 percent range.

Herd immunity is achieved when enough people in a community have built up antibodies against a virus, either through being sick or through vaccination. The preferred method is always vaccination, doctors say, since some people will not survive the virus or suffer long-term disabilities. Covid-19 vaccines have shown themselves to be safe for the majority of people with mild to moderate side effects that last hours to a couple of days, signs that the body is building protection against the virus.

There’s still a significant portion of the community that needs to be vaccinated. Children under the age of 12 that make up 17 percent of the county’s population have yet to be eligible as drug trials continue ahead of emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, possibly sometime this fall.

Less than half, 47 percent, of residents ages 12-17, have received at least one dose, according to the department. Young adults have done better, with 61-66 percent. Starting at age 45 the vaccination rate increases to 79 percent, and is over 80 percent for those ages 55 and up.

It’s concerning to officials that so many young people have not been vaccinated as the delta variant continues to spread. In the latest Covid data report, the health department shows that there are now more children, teens and young adults becoming infected than older adults in the county. In recent weeks six minors have become infected and 25 people between the ages of 18-34 have tested positive. Meanwhile only six people over the age of 65 have become infected.

For information on how to get vaccinated, see the Weekly vaccination guide.

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