Tehama County Health Services Agency has been providing COVID-19 vaccine to both Tehama County residents and workers and with the help of the National Guard and community volunteers, 6,402 doses have been administered in the community.

The agency wants residents to understand the vaccine protects those who receive it, but not necessarily others and are asking the community to continue to stay vigilant in safety precautions, including mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing.

Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are roughly 95 percent effective after both doses, said the agency, however, effectiveness in this context means the vaccine reduces the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death by 95 percent after both doses if a person is exposed.

There is very little research on the effectiveness of the vaccine preventing the virus from being spread from person to person if someone is exposed.

“This means until there are enough individuals with immunity in the community to protect those who are not vaccinated, safety precautions are necessary,” said the agency in a press release. “This is especially true as Tehama County is still under the Purple Tier of the California Department of Public Health’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy due to high case rates.”

Immunity in the case of COVID-19 is expected to be reached when 75 percent of Tehama County residents are vaccinated, so roughly 49,000 of its 65,000 residents need to be vaccinated.

“We do not have a time span for how long this will take, as we are very limited in our vaccine supply, but we are making progress every day,” said Val Lucero, Tehama County Health Services Agency executive director.

In addition to mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing, testing for COVID-19 during vaccine rollout is also crucial, explains the agency.

At this time, the California Department of Public Health does not recommend changes to testing requirements for individuals, even those who have been fully vaccinated. As the science and evidence evolves, the state will issue updated guidance to reflect new information and data.

In the meantime, the county asks residents to continue getting tested for COVID-19 if a person has symptoms or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

“This is true even after being vaccinated,” Lucero said.

Tests for COVID-19 work the same in vaccinated people as they do in unvaccinated people.

To schedule a testing appointment, go online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 1-888-634-1123.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Public Health updated COVID-19 quarantine guidance for fully vaccinated people, to include vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet the following criteria:

- Are fully vaccinated (it’s been 2 weeks or more since getting the second dose in a 2-dose series, or 2 weeks or more since getting one dose of a single-dose vaccine)

- Are within 3 months of getting the last dose in the series

- Have had no symptoms since the exposure

- Persons who do not meet all three of the above criteria should continue to follow current state quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

For more information on COVID-19 guidelines go online to https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/clinical- considerations.html or call 1-833-422-4255.

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