Flip the script, grab the jab! — Protect yourself, your community

From a White House podium Tuesday, Dec. 21, President Joseph Biden outlined the United States’ response to the growing threat of the Omicron covid-19 variant. He said we have more tools than we have ever had before in this new battle with the pandemic—such as the 500 million home tests to be provided free to those who request them, beginning next month [watch this space for guidance on making a request].

First and foremost among our pandemic tools, the president said, is to be vaccinated: “It’s the only responsible thing to do,” Biden urged. “Omicron is serious and potentially deadly business for unvaccinated people,” he added.

Multiple Layers of Protection

Omicron is the most contagious variant yet. Health experts agree that multi-layer prevention strategies are more important than ever: Masks in public indoor spaces (mandated in California until at least January 15, 2022); physical distancing; frequent handwashing; improved ventilation; and testing to slow transmission.

Being fully vaccinated is the top scientifically proven way to protect yourself and your loved ones from severe covid-19 illness, hospitalization or death.

The official definition of “fully vaccinated” now includes having a booster as soon as you are eligible, based on the brand of vaccine you received.

Finding a Vaccination Site

Gone are the “Hunger Games” days when vaccinations were a hard-to-find treasure.

Kern County has now coordinated with California’s streamlined locator/reservation system. Simply visit MyTurn.ca.gov and follow the prompts to find the locations nearest you. You can specify how many miles from your ZIP code you are willing to travel.

If you are in a hurry, you can search for walk-in locations [see map at right] that do not require reservations. The site makes it easy to find exactly the vaccination you are seeking, filtering by brand and specifying sequence number or booster.

The vaccination site nearest to the Mountain Communities is Clinica Sierra Vista’s Lebec location, the Frazier Mountain Community Health Center (704 Lebec Road, Lebec). Call to confirm they have the brand you need: 661.248.5250.Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. (closed Christmas Eve but open New Year’s Eve).

Test and Test Again

Because Omicron has a shorter incubation period and is so contagious, health officials advise that you take a rapid test (such as a home kit) just prior to entering a holiday gathering (rather than several days or even hours prior).

It may be a challenge to find home tests in stores due to the nationwide Omicron surge since Thanksgiving.

As we go to press, the Wall Street Journal reports that the sudden demand requires that consumers become “scrappy shoppers” for home tests.

ETUSD Student? Free Home Test

All El Tejon Unified School District students are entitled to a free iHealth test kit, containing two tests—to be taken three days prior to and the morning of their return to school after winter break [see page 14 for more details]. California has provided the tests to staff and students at all schools in the state, as part of its effort to curb the spread of covid-19.

—Marcy Axness, TME

Photo captions:

Above: Search MyTurn.ca.gov for any type of covid vaccination you need. This map shows Moderna shots available within 40 miles of 93225 ZIP code.

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This is part of the December 24, 2021 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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