The panel of COVID: Novavax offers a new look made with known technology

News of the week

As the omicron subvariant-driven boom continues, unvaccinated people have a new option.

Last Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for adults 18 and older. Because the injection uses protein subunit technology — the same method used for flu and whooping cough vaccines — health care professionals hope it will persuade more unvaccinated people to get their shots.

“If you’ve been waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine built on a different technology than those previously available, now is the time to join the millions of Americans who have been vaccinated,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

Locally, cases have continued their slow rise, with the county recording 2,197 active cases on Monday. That’s 77 more than last Monday.

With the Novavax vaccines expected to be available in a few weeks, all eyes will be on how vaccination rates change, both locally and nationally.

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Independent scientists and doctors told the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that an updated vaccine should be released this fall to specifically target Omicron, its subvariants and the original strain. A vaccine formula for the fall must be decided soon, so the FDA is expected to make a final decision.
Santa Cruz County’s three test-to-treat locations are still in operation. Click here to find the nearest location. Currently, Paxlovid is the drug available, showing an 89% reduction in hospitalization and death, and must be taken within five days of the onset of symptoms to be effective.

Vaccinations and precautions are still strongly recommended.

The easiest way to make an appointment for second boosters is at local pharmacies including Rite-Aid, CVS and Walgreens.

Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health are still administering second boosters to eligible recipients.

Check out our links below for quick access to the relevant websites.

Masking rules

Neither the state of California nor Santa Cruz County currently require indoor masking. For the county’s public schools, as of March 11, masks are optional although highly recommended.

As of April 10, masks are not required for most indoor areas at UC Santa Cruz facilities, although they are highly recommended. Masks will still be required for public transportation on campus, in early education service centers and in clinical settings.

On April 19, Santa Cruz Metro lifted the mask mandate for vaccinated passengers, following a federal judge’s ruling that mask mandates are not required on public transportation.

The last numbers

How does Santa Cruz compare to California and the US on vaccinations? Where are the most current cases of COVID in the county and how does this compare to the population? Here is the latest data.

As of Monday, there were 2,040 active cases recorded by the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. This does not include unreported rapid tests done at home, so this number is not exact.

One new death was reported last week, raising the pandemic’s total to 267.

Case forecast until July 25

Case forecast until July 25

(Via California Department of Public Health)

Where can I find a vaccine?

At this point, vaccines are widely available throughout the county. They are free for everyone, whether insured or not.

As of March 31, second booster shots are available for people age 50 and older, as well as people age 12 and older who are immunocompromised or who have received Johnson & Johnson as their main series and booster doses.

Rite-Aid, CVS, Horsnyder Pharmacy, Westside Pharmacy and Walgreens are currently offering second boosters.

Those wishing to get the vaccine through their primary care provider should check the company’s website, as availability may vary.

Health care providers

You can make appointments for initial doses and booster injections. Below are local health care providers who offer the vaccine.

Kaiser Permanente
Sutter/Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Health is dignity
Emeline Health Center

Pharmacies and supermarkets

Most pharmacies in the county have appointments for COVID-19 vaccines available in the future. Click on the selected pharmacy to schedule an appointment.

Horsnyder Pharmacy & Medical Supply
Westside Pharmacy

Being tested

The following sites offer free PCR tests through Turnaround is usually three to five days.

Mountain Community Resources
6134 Hwy. 9, Felton
Goods warehouse building
119 Center St., Santa Cruz
Watsonville Test Site
500 Westridge Dr., Watsonville

The table below lists additional testing resources in Santa Cruz County. However, almost all of them require dating.

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