SM County: Colorado Phase 1B.3 Commences!

SM County: Colorado Phase 1B.3 Commences!

San Miguel Public Health announces 500 Janssen single-dose vaccines arrive in San Miguel County, vaccine efficacy high.

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San Miguel County Public Health has received an allocation of 500 of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ single-dose vaccines, from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). This single allocation will augment vaccine distribution for the remainder of the month until supply increases which is expected in April.

March 5th marks another expansion of vaccine eligibility in Colorado with the commencement of Phase 1B.3. Eligible residents include those frontline essential workers in agriculture and grocery; residents 60 years of age and older and 16 to 59 years of age with two high-risk conditions. This phase, consisting of nearly 1 million Coloradans, is expected to take three to five weeks with current supply. Public Health will host its first clinic addressing newly eligible residents in Telluride on Saturday followed by two clinics in Norwood next week.

Grace Franklin, County Public Health Director.

“We are actively encouraging residents to take whichever vaccine is available to them in order to guarantee prompt protection against COVID-19,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “With a single dose option in-hand offering the same level of protection, we are able to reach additional residents and accommodate the pressing timeline as off-season approaches.”

All three vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including Janssen, made by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer, greatly reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. San Miguel County’s vaccine providers are currently administering two of the three approved vaccines, Moderna and Janssen. Pfizer is not available due to the State’s allocation strategy for rural communities.

Dr. Sharon Grundy

“The best vaccine is the one that is available,” said San Miguel County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Grundy. “All of the available vaccines have a high efficacy against the more serious results of a COVID-19 infection, like hospitalization and death.”

Efficacy is a measurement of how much a vaccine lowers the risk of an outcome, such as infection, hospitalization or death. Vaccine efficacy is a percentage measured during clinical trials and is the comparison of a vaccinated group against a placebo or control group. Zero percent means that vaccinated people are at as much risk as people who got the placebo. A hundred percent means that the risk was entirely eliminated by the vaccine.

When it comes to Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen, the efficacy of preventing a severe and symptomatic COVID-19 infection is 95%, 94% and 85% respectively. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the flu vaccine has between 40% and 60% efficacy implying that the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines have exceptional efficacy to-date.

All three vaccines were reviewed in a rigorous process and approved by the FDA. Direct comparison of the three is impossible because trials ran at different times amongst different populations. However, all three are highly effective at preventing severe outcomes from a COVID-19 infection.

When evaluating the type of vaccine, the goals are the same but the mode of training the body is different. The Janssen vaccine is a viral vector adenovirus vaccine, which means it uses a piece of double-stranded DNA to teach your body how to fight COVID-19. mRNA vaccines, like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, use single-stranded mRNA.

“This is our means to safely returning to work, school, concerts and gathering with friends,” added Franklin. “Herd immunity obtained by vaccination will decrease the spread of COVID-19 but is only reached when a high percentage of our community gains immunity and the virus has nowhere to go.”

According to the World Health Organization, herd immunity against measles requires about 95% of a population to be vaccinated. For polio, the threshold is about 80%. The proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not yet known. The proportion will likely vary according to the community, the vaccine, disease burden, the populations prioritized for vaccination and other factors.

Public Health has confirmed three new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from March 2 through 4. Of these cases, three are confirmed as residents and all actively contagious cases are currently in isolation.

As of release time today, there have been 827 total COVID cases among residents to date with 3 active cases.

To learn more about the county’s wastewater data and current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the County COVID-19 dashboard.

Five Commitments of Containment:

Wear a mask
Maintain six feet of physical distance
Minimize group size
Wash hands frequently
Stay home when sick and get tested

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