Mariposa County teachers set to receive COVID-19 vaccine this week

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- This week, schoolteachers in Mariposa County will be among some of the first in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Life in the rural community has always moved at a slower pace but it has picked up the pace when it comes to vaccinations.

Many front-line healthcare workers already received their second doses, so on Thursday, teachers will begin to get the vaccine.

Mariposa County School Superintendent Jeff Aranguena said, "This is going to be a big boost for them, for showing up and feeling safe and confident that they will be in an environment that is healthy and safe."

An estimated 85% of the students were still in school. Low infection rates at the start of the pandemic allowed that.

Aranguena was surprised to see the vaccine process move so quickly but knows it will be welcomed by the parents who have opted for remote learning.

He said, "It seems like the vaccine was always something in the back of their minds for returning. That 15% of staying at home or choosing distance learning remained pretty steady."

Mariposa County remained under a Stay Home order because it relies on San Joaquin Valley ICU bed space.

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But now the health department was ready to vaccinate 300 school employees in the 1B category.

Public Health Officer Dr. Eric Sergienko explained, "Which not only includes schoolteachers but includes our residents who are 75 years and older, our public safety workers, including law enforcement and those fire who don't provide EMS. "

The group also included food and ag workers.

Dr. Sergienko added half the county's population was made up of people in categories A through 1C, which includes people with high-risk medical conditions. Outreach could pose a problem in some of the county's outlying areas.

Dr. Sergienko said, ''It's not the last step, but it's the next step in getting us back to a new normal but back to getting back to doing those things that we want to do in the schools."

At this rate, Mariposa County could be able to vaccinate the general public in March.
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