Public Health officials in the Yuba-Sutter area were expecting to receive 1,200 COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna to be used at this weekend’s county-sponsored clinic, but the company made the decision on Thursday to halt shipments due to severe ice storms throughout much of the central and southern United States.
The decision forced many counties and states to scale back their vaccination plans over the next several days, said Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu. The local clinic will go on, but is scaled back in size.
This weekend was set to be the first clinic that expanded the scope of who could receive vaccinations — local frontline sectors including education and childcare, food and agriculture, and emergency service personnel aged 50 years and older. A total of 1,230 people that fall into those categories, as well as healthcare workers and local residents 65 years and older, signed up to participate.
“The Yuba-Sutter first-dose clinic will still take place, thanks to partnerships with local health organizations that pulled together enough doses to vaccinate about 70 percent of those who registered on Wednesday,” Luu said.
Those not included in this weekend’s clinic, which will see 850 doses administered, will be given priority registration for the Feb. 27 clinic. Public Health staff will contact those who need to re-register for the next clinic directly, Luu said.
“Zero doses, whether allotted from last week or this week, have come in. This is not unique to Yuba-Sutter,” Luu said. “We appreciate the community’s understanding and patience, as we have to deal with issues outside of our local vaccine supply control.”
Luu said due to the continued limited supply of vaccine doses, expansion of those who qualify locally is based on available data of who is most at risk of hospitalization and death. Even among persons with the same occupation, there is a differential in risk based on age with CDC data showing that those 50-64 years old have three times the risk of in-hospital death due to COVID-19 compared to those 18-39 years old.
“This risk is much higher than those who are younger than 50 years and have underlying medical conditions. Please be patient with us as we work through continued vaccine rollout,” she said.
One promising development is the area has been seeing improvements in its case count and test positivity, though not to the level that would see it move into the state’s next less restrictive tier. Sutter County is currently averaging 25.4 new cases per 100,000 people per day with a test positivity of 8.7 percent. Yuba County is averaging 20.9 new cases per 100,000 people per day with a test positivity of 8.4 percent.
“To get to the red tier, we need to see between 4 and 7 new cases per 100,000 people daily and a test positivity between 5 percent and 8 percent,” Luu said. “We are getting closer but have to continue doing what we’re doing.”
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Yuba-Sutter area increased by 34 on Thursday, bringing the total to 14,405 cases. There are currently 410 active cases in the area.
There were 37 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 as of Thursday evening, while 51 people recovered from the virus. To date, 130 Yuba-Sutter residents have died from the virus — a Sutter County resident in their mid-70s died on Thursday.