Nearly three-fourths of Carver County residents 16 years and older have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
According to Carver County Public Health Director Richard Scott, the county is the fifth in the metro to reach this “milestone” — and one of seven counties throughout Minnesota.
Why is that important?
“If you’re fully vaccinated, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is extremely low,” Scott said. “The vaccine remains the best defense against the virus and its impact.”
He said health experts suggest death and severe disease risk greatly drops in areas with 70-80% residents that are vaccinated.
As of early last week, the county averages around four COVID cases per day. It’s the lowest since the pandemic’s start in March 2020, Scott said. He added testing rates are also decreasing.
The county’s positivity rate was 7.7% on April 21 and dropped to 2.2% by May 22. The state’s current positivity rate is 1.5%, according to the county.
As far as shots go, nearly all — 96% — of county residents 65 years and older have gotten at least one dose. Nearly 94% of those received both (or fully completed vaccine requirements with one Johnson & Johnson dose).
That 94% number?
“(It’s) the second-highest in the metro,” Scott said.
But other numbers could be better, he added.
Around 51.8% of Carver County male residents have chosen to get vaccinated, compared to female residents at 58.9%. In addition, western Carver County; Black, Indigenous, and people of color vaccine rates are lagging, Scott said.
“Public Health continues to work on outreach, partnerships and smaller clinics to support residents in these communities who want the vaccine,” he said.
The department continues vaccinating people 12 years and older for the Pfizer vaccine, and 18 and older for both the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines.
Heading into the summer, Scott said getting vaccinated is the best thing to ward off the virus and severe complications. He said studies indicate all three vaccines offer “strong protection” even against the new variant, Delta, which has made its way to the U.S.
At the end of the day, fighting the pandemic is a team effort.
“We were able to reach that 70% mark thanks to everyone involved — it truly takes a community effort to reach that level of participation for a single activity,” Scott said. “It speaks to our county’s sense of community that so many people were willing to get vaccinated to keep their family, friends and neighbors safe and healthy.”