This weekend’s county-sponsored COVID-19 vaccine clinic still had about half of the allotted appointment still open for registration as of Thursday afternoon.

Anyone 18 years and older who lives or works in the Yuba-Sutter area are currently eligible to register for the clinics — to do so, go to yuba.org/vaccines or suttercounty.org/vaccine, or by calling 634-7496 (Yuba County) or 822-5985 (Sutter County).

“This Saturday’s clinic offers the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, so it is convenient and you won’t have to return for a second dose,” said Yuba County Public Health Director Dr. Homer Rice.

Approximately 17.7 percent of Sutter County residents and 12.1 percent of Yuba County residents have been fully vaccinated to date. Rice said the percentage needs to reach somewhere around 80 percent or higher for herd immunity to be reached, though it differs depending on the disease.

“Vaccination is the safest way to get our communities back to ‘normal,’” he said. “The vaccines that are out are safe and effective against COVID-19. There are multiple venues for getting vaccinated including CVS, Rite-Aid, and soon, Walmart.”

Next week, vaccine eligibility will further expand to include people 16 years and older. Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved for those 16 and older; Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are approved for 18 years and older.

“The existing vaccines prevent serious illness and hospitalizations. Some of the new variants do spread faster and so more people may be infected, which is why it remains important to continue safety precautions,” Rice said. “The scientific community continues to track coronavirus variants to determine if changes to the vaccine may be needed in the future.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Yuba-Sutter area increased by 13 on Thursday. There are currently 115 active cases in the area.

Ten individuals were hospitalized as of Thursday evening, while eight virus cases closed. To date, 142 local deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.

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