There were two new COVID-19 cases in Tuolumne County on Friday as public health officials grappled with dwindling demand for vaccinations, despite 55% of residents still not having received a single dose.
The new cases were identified as two women between the ages of 18 and 29.
A vaccination clinic hosted by the county Public Health Department on Thursday at the Westside property in Tuolumne was designed for up to 2,000 people to get their first shots, but only 581 took advantage.
Anyone 16 or older is now eligible to receive the vaccine, which is free and voluntary.
“We encourage everyone to get vaccinated as it helps keep you and those around you protected from COVID-19, as well as reducing the spread of disease in our community,” the department said in an update on new cases Friday.
Michelle Jachetta, public health director for the county, said on Friday that the demand for the vaccine has seemed to suddenly drop off recently.
A vaccination dashboard from the California Department of Public Health showed on Friday that nearly 27.4 million doses of the vaccine had been administered throughout the state, including 37,004 in Tuolumne County.
The dashboard also showed more than 55% of Californians 16 and older were either fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated as of Friday, though Tuolumne County was at 45%.
People 65 and older had the highest rates of vaccination in Tuolumne County, with about 61% fully vaccinated and about 11% having received at least one dose. The percentages for the age group were similar statewide.
Jachetta said where the county really lags is in the percentage of people 18 to 49 years old who are getting the vaccine. About 74% of residents in the age group had yet to receive a single dose as of Friday, despite becoming eligible more than two weeks ago.
The county plans to scale back some of its clinic operations as a result of diminishing demand and launch a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging more people to get vaccinated. Some experts say as much as 90% of the population needs to get vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.
County Supervisor Ryan Campbell, who was on a weekly media call Friday with public health officials, said anyone who’s still holding out to let others who they feel are more deserving get vaccinated first no longer needs to worry thanks to ample supplies.
Campbell also pointed out how the number of new cases and deaths in the county has significantly subsided over the past couple of months following a surge over the holidays that resulted in thousands of infections and dozens of deaths in just a few months.
“We’ve had significant reductions in infections and deaths since the vaccine rollout started, and that’s not an accident,” he said.
See the information below for vaccination opportunities:
• The Tuolumne County Public Health Department: To find out if you’re eligible and register for available vaccination clinics, visit: https://myturn.ca.gov.
• Adventist Health Sonora: Find out more information by going to www.adventisthealthsonora.org/covidvaccine or call (209) 536-5165.
• The Safeway pharmacy: Register at mhealthsystem.com/3127tuolumne.
•Twain Harte Pharmacy: Call (209) 586-3225 for information and appointments.
• The Calaveras County Public Health Division has a clinic at Frogtown, 2465 Gun Club Road, outside Angels Camp. Register for appointments at https://bit.ly/3dZqvDh or call (209) 419-7314.