Nearly 22,000 SLC residents have received first dose of COVID-19 vaccine
BY ANDY GARDNER
North Country This Week
St. Lawrence County has administered both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to about 12% of the population.
Dr. Andrew Williams, president of the St. Lawrence County Board of Health, reported the latest numbers to the St. Lawrence County legislature Finance Committee during their Monday, Feb. 22 meeting.He said 21,693 people in the county have received at least one dose. Of that, 12,162 people have gotten both doses. The total county population is 108,047.
Dr. Williams said the county is doing well at vaccinating people age 70 and up, some of the most vulnerable to severe complications or death from COVID-19 infection. He said the county has vaccinated 56% of residents between ages 70 and 79, and 54% of those age 80 and up.
“In a fairly short period of time, we’ve vaccinated more than half the people who are eligible in that most vulnerable category,” he said.
The vaccines are bringing new rules for mandatory quarantine. Anyone who’s had their second shot within two weeks to three months of exposure may not be required to quarantine. The person must also be asymptomatic. The person’s vaccination status will also have to be verified.
“The good news is now that people are getting vaccinated, there’s the option for them not to go into mandatory quarantine,” Dr. Williams said.
He said the person will have to have gone two weeks or more since receiving their second dose. That’s how long it takes for the vaccine to be fully effective. The cutoff is three months, and that’s because the vaccines are new and there’s uncertainty as to how long immunity lasts.
“We’re very confident they’re effective for three months. They may be effective for four months, or six months. We’re just not sure,” Dr. Williams said.
He cautioned that although the vaccines are highly effective, immunizing most recipients, but people who get the shots still have some risk.
“All the numbers I’m seeing are somewhere in the high 90% (efficacy) range. There are people who will get vaccinated and may develop COVID. What we’re seeing for sure is they don’t die, they don’t get hospitalized, and they don’t get a severe version of the illness,” the doctor said.