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Covid Update: Get the Shot, Health Officials Urge

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By Vince Conti

To access the Herald’s local coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage, click here.
COURT HOUSE – As daily Covid case numbers continue to drop, it is starting to feel like the pandemic nightmare is almostat an end. Victory may be within reach, but it is not clearly in hand.  
The vaccination rate, the imminent arrival of warmer weather, and the call of the outdoors conspire against the virus spread. World hotspots and new variant emergence are cautions against declaring victory too soon.
The county’s numbers are trending well. This past week (May 4-10) saw less than 100 new cases for the first time in 2021, with one additional fatality. Active cases stand at 140, the lowest number in six months.
Cape May County continues to be a leader in vaccinations per 100,000 of the population. The county reports 56% of the adult population is fully vaccinated, and over 50,000 county residents received at least one dose.
The state is easing restrictions as the county prepares for the tourist season’s start. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added to the activities that fully vaccinated individuals can safely enjoy.Daily case reports from the county that began in spring 2020 will revert to weekly Friday updates, as the counts remain positive and the need for daily reports lessens.
A trend to require proof of full vaccination that began weeks ago in the private sector stalled. With the government leaving decisions about requiring proof of vaccination to the private sector, inconsistency is likely to characterize the implementation of what was termed vaccine passports.
Some colleges are requiring proof of vaccination, while others are not. The same is true of cruise lines, and even some sports stadiums are getting into the act. How this will play out is not clear. 
Variants remain the dark cloud in the increasingly blue sky. So far, the major variants circulating in the U.S. are tackled by the vaccines. 
From the start of the vaccinations in December, health officials pushed vaccination as the way to reduce the virus’s ability to mutate, potentiallycreating variants dangerousto vaccine immunity. 
As the county prepares for the influx of outside visitors, county officials asked mayors from the 16 municipalities to join an aggressive push to get fully vaccinated individuals to the 70% goal. 
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer vaccine’s use for children ages 12 to 15, increasing the segments of the population eligible for vaccination. Vaccine clinical trials for those ages 2 and older are ongoing. 
What this will mean for New Jersey’s vaccination plans and protocols is still being worked out. For the newly eligible 12 to 15-year-olds, the state is looking to set up vaccine locations in places that are “comforting and accessible.” 
The existing county clinic,at the Avalon Community Center, will hold walk-in vaccinations May 12, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Individuals will have a choice between the single-dose Johnson & Johnson or the two-shot Moderna vaccines. By May 17, the clinic will relocate to Lower Cape May Regional High School’s field house. 
With Memorial Day approaching, Cape May County is in a promising place concerning the pandemic but is not out of the woods yet. Health officials are urging those not yet vaccinated to get the shot.
To contact Vince Conti, email vconti@cmcherald.com.

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