MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno said the county continues to make Covid-19 vaccines available and is looking toward younger demographics to raise vaccination rates during a press briefing on June 9.

Of county residents age 12 and older, 63% have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a rate that has held steady for weeks.

“I think we really need to focus our efforts in trying to get as many teenagers vaccinated as possible,” Moreno said. “I think that’s really what we’re working on. So we’ll continue to try to get vaccine over to those vaccine providers who historically have been vaccinating kids for school entry.”

Moreno also explained the county is working on getting smaller vaccine dosages for younger residents, and distribute those to providers.

“We have more work to do and will try to vaccinate as many as we can,” he said.

Weekly Covid-19 vaccination totals in the county had been on the rise since the week ending Feb. 13, when 9,500 people received their shots that week. Those first- and second-dose totals continued to increase up to the peak of 33,910 during the week ending April 10, and has since been on the decline.

In the week ending May 22, 11,220 residents got shots, while the total dipped to 2,640 in the week ending May 29, and the latest reported weekly total was 2,340 in the week ending June 5.

“We should remember that we’re at a different place in the pandemic than we were when the vaccine was first available,” Moreno said. “The demand exceeded the availability and supply of the vaccine. That was a very different time in pandemic response than we’re in now. Many of those people have already been vaccinated. We have more people vaccinated than unvaccinated.”

Of those who remain unvaccinated, he said the county’s communications team is working on messaging and outreach.

As of Monday, Monterey County has reported 43,804 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and a total of 420 deaths. Three patients were currently hospitalized.

Moreno was asked about shifts in the Covid-related death totals, which had gone through a recent change. He explained he didn’t know if deaths attributed to Covid-19 were later determined to not be from the disease.

The cause was most likely that the deaths were shifted to a different county once it was discovered they were not in fact residents of Monterey County.

“Some people who passed away were assigned to Monterey County, and when we investigate we find out the person wasn’t really a Monterey County resident, maybe a Santa Cruz County resident,” Moreno said.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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