The state reported that nearly half of the residents of Elk Grove, ages 16 and older, are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

With their wide availability, the three COVID-19 vaccines have accounted for about 46% of those residents receiving full dosages, notes the state’s data.

Currently anyone, aged 12 and older, can be vaccinated for COVID-19 in Sacramento County. However, those 12 to 17 years old are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

Distribution of these approved vaccines is guided by the California Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Sacramento County Public Health is working with local partners, including hospitals, long-term care facilities and clinics for vaccine distribution.

Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen responded to the state’s recent update for COVID-19 vaccinations in Elk Grove.

“That’s progress, but we need everyone to get vaccinated,” she said. “The vaccine provides the chance to return to the people and places we love and get our lives back again.”

Singh-Allen also addressed those who are hesitant about getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

“Health care workers and emergency responders have been vaccinated,” she said. “For those who are hesitant to get the vaccine, studies show the vaccine is safe and effective.”

She added that availability of the vaccine has increased and can be administered to anyone free of charge.

“The county has even added mobile vaccination units to make it easier to access the vaccine,” Singh-Allen said. “Get vaccinated Elk Grove.”

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye on May 24 spoke about Elk Grove approaching the milestone of having half of its residents, ages 16 and older, fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

“That is certainly very good news, and actually, Elk Grove has been trending around the same rate as the state, and as we are heading towards June 15 (the state’s goal for fully reopening the economy), we want to make sure that as many people as we can get vaccinated,” she told the Citizen. “So, hearing that at least 50% of those that are eligible are fully vaccinated, that gives us some confidence.”

Elk Grove, she noted, ranks in about the middle for the number of COVID-19 vaccinations around the county.

“It’s not one of those (places) that has the highest rates, but it also is trending pretty good,” she said.

However, Kasirye mentioned that Sacramento County is currently a little behind the state average for the number of people who have been fully vaccinated.

“(Sacramento County) has surpassed the 50% (mark) for full vaccinations, as well,” she said. “We do have some areas (in the county) that have done very well that have vaccination rates as high as the 70 (percent range), but we also still have areas that are lagging behind. I’m looking at those zip codes and seeing how we can bring the vaccines to the neighborhoods, and also get people out to actually accept the vaccinations.”

In the event that California’s economy fully reopens on June 15 – given that current COVID-19 trends continue – Kasirye mentioned that the state’s mask mandate will also change.

“Right now, the California (mask) mandate is that if you are outside, you can engage in any activities without a mask, if you are fully vaccinated; but the mask is still required indoors,” she said. “But once we get to June 15, we will update (the) masking mandate to match the recommendation from the CDC.

“So, that means, for people that are vaccinated, the masks will not be required, indoors and outdoors. There are some exceptions (such as) very large gatherings, public transportation and also in schools. For schools, only children, 12 and above, are eligible for vaccinations. So, there’s still a lot of children that would be in school that are not vaccinated and are not eligible.”

Kasirye also encouraged those who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 to take that step.

“We, of course, continue to encourage those who have not taken that step to get vaccinated to do so as soon as possible,” she said.

“My plea to those that have not (been vaccinated) is that it will help to protect them individually and it will also help protect their loved ones.”

Because variants of COVID-19 have been detected in Sacramento County, Kasirye further stressed the necessity for people to get vaccinated against this virus.

“We do know also that the vaccine is effective against the variants, as well,” she said. “But because they are there, we still are going to have a system to do a public health surveillance just to make sure that we don’t have any new variants that come up that would be of great concern and cause any increase in cases.”

For information about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and where to get vaccinated, visit the website, www.myturn.ca.gov.