Mono County officials announced earlier this week that they had administered over 5,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to county residents since receiving its first allotment.
According to the LA Times, Mono County is first in the state in vaccine distribution relative to population.
The county is vaccinating at a rate of 35,170 doses per 100,000 residents. The next highest rate is Alpine county, with 328 doses administered for a rate of 28,571.4 doses per 100,000 residents.
Napa County, with 26,511 doses administered, is currently third with a rate of 18,865 doses per 100,000 residents.
Inyo County is solidly in the middle of the pack with 2,232 doses administered for a rate of 12,341.7 doses per 100,000 residents.
A press release quoted Mono County Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Boo as saying “We are proud to be doing relatively well in protecting some of the priority groups, as determined by the State, in our community. The Mono County vaccination efforts, led by the Public Health Department, represent a successful collaboration with Mammoth Hospital, medical and special event professionals, and our county-wide passionate volunteers, all intensely committed to crushing this pandemic.”
Things are expected to become more difficult heading forward, as vaccine supplies are expected to severely diminish in the coming weeks. That issue has less to do with the state of California than it does the major vaccine manufacturers.
It’s unclear how the Biden administration’s announcement that it had received
an additional 200 million doses of the vaccine, 100 million of both the Pfizer and Moderna versions.
This would bring the national supply in the United States to about 600 million total doses, enough for 300 million Americans to be vaccinated. 260 million are currently eligible to receive vaccine as children under 18 are not allowed to get it. That may change as the results of recent studies become public.
While it will take months to get those vaccines in arms, the Biden administration says that it has secured an agreement from both companies to expedite the process. Pfizer and Moderna are projecting that enough doses will be available for 300 million vaccinations by the end of July 2021.
Despite the short-term reduction in expected vaccine, the county maintains it will be able to complete second round doses for those receiving the first already by early March.
Regarding vaccine spread locally: the state reported earlier this week that Mono County’s new case rate/100k resident/day is at 17.4 with a 6.6% testing positivity rate.
If the new case rate remains below 25/100,000/day, schools in the county will be allowed to return to in-person classes for grades K-6. Given that Eastern Sierra Unified has remained open in-person, this would only impact Mammoth Unified School District.
In order for the middle and high schools to open, the county will need to be in the red tier (7-8 new cases/100k residents/day and below 8% positivity rate).
There is some worry among county health officials that recently held Super Bowl parties may drive up the case rate, although that won’t be clear until at least next week.
Mono County Supervisor John Peters said at Tuesday’s board meeting that while the requirements for moving between tiers may seem impossible, the initial intent was “to help keep counties from moving into more restrictive tiers … nobody was thinking we’d be at the numbers we saw in January.”
Peters, who represents Mono County on the rural counties committee of the California State Association of Counties, has been involved in talks with Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s Health and Human Services director.
While there has been some advocacy to change the metrics, especially for smaller counites, there has not been a great deal of traction in that area.
Public Health Director Bryan Wheeler said that he has continued to advocate to state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan for increased allocations of vaccine to smaller counties. Currently, small counties receive between 100 and 200 doses of vaccine each week.
Much like Mono, Inyo County appears to be trending in the right direction.
In Inyo County, the new case rate/100,000 residents/day is 38.7 with an 8.1% positivity rate.
At Tuesday’s Inyo County board of Supervisors meeting, Health and Human Services Director Marilyn Mann said that the county had recorded 22 cases over the past weekend and three additional deaths, bringing the death total to 34 since last March.
Mann anticipated that Inyo will remain in the purple tier for the time being.
The county had 43 cases per 100,000 residents last week and county officials believe that that number will keep falling to under 40 per 100,000 residents per day.
Anna Scott, Health and Human Services deputy director, said that the county expected to receive 400 first doses this week.
Residents of both counties are encouraged to pre-register for the vaccine.