Summit County closes in on 70% vaccination goal
Residents ages 12-15 could be eligible for vaccination as early as next week
Summit County is rapidly approaching its vaccination goal, though there may be some minor changes to the data next week, according to Public Health Director Amy Wineland.
Wineland provided an update on vaccination efforts and the overall coronavirus situation in the area during a board of health work session Thursday afternoon, noting that Summit County’s trends continue to move in the right direction.
There were only 17 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Summit County over the past week, Wineland said, and the county’s seven-day cumulative incidence rate has continued to drop precipitously since the end of March (406 new cases per 100,000 residents) to now (51 per 100,000).
“We’re almost out of the woods where we would have seen a bump with our spring breakers returning to the county,” Wineland said. “So hopefully we’ve been able to suppress that, and we’ll continue to have low case numbers. … We’ve done such an incredible job both with participating in testing, and then of course our positivity rate continues to be below 5% here, our hospital surge capacity is still doing great. And of course our vaccination rate is up to 60% fully vaccinated at this time.”
Summit County currently has a goal of vaccinating 70% of the population, a tantalizingly close achievement with more than 60% of county residents already fully vaccinated and nearly 74% having received at least one dose.
But those numbers are expected to take a minor dip sometime next week due to the expansion of vaccine eligibility.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15 in the coming days, which will mean more eligible individuals in the population and a reduced vaccination rate. Wineland said Colorado — and in turn Summit County — is also set to begin using population data from 2019 as opposed to 2018, which should increase the population somewhat, as well. For comparison, Wineland said using the updated numbers, Summit County would currently have 57.4% of the population fully vaccinated and about 70.5% who have gotten at least one dose.
Expanding vaccination efforts to the newly eligible population should happen in short order. Wineland said the county could be notified to open up vaccine eligibility to the 12- to 15-year-old population as soon as early next week, and plans are already in place to adjust distribution clinics to fit them in.
There will not be any shortage of vaccines for other groups of community members lining up for their shots. Wineland said vaccines in the county are “no longer a limited resource” and encouraged residents to stop by local pharmacies and neighborhood vaccination events the county is putting on in partnership with organizations throughout the area.
“Just because we reached green does not mean that effort stops, so we’re really focused on continuing,” Wineland said. “We know we’re going to have an influx of seasonal staff and employees coming to our community, so we want to make sure we’re continuing to work with our chamber and our businesses to make sure, as part of the orientation when they’re hired, folks understand where and how they can get vaccinated.”
Summit County entered level green on the county’s COVID-19 dial Wednesday, May 5, exactly 14 months after the first case of the novel coronavirus emerged in the state. Officials thanked community members for their hard work to get to this point.
“Just the perseverance of our community and who we are as humans, I think it has changed us forever — and our kiddos and all sorts of things,” Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said. “But we’re excited we’re on the right track moving forward.”
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