By Anna Giles

NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — Nevada County was another area that took a vaccine eligibility leap Thursday, moving further past the state’s timeline to offer shots to anyone 16 and up.

“I think if they have the doses, sure, why not,” said William Samuels, a county resident.

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Nevada County health officials said their Whispering Pines location will handle the bulk of new appointments. Residents can sign up through the state’s website, My Turn, but appointments for the rest of this week are already gone.

Corporate providers like Walgreens and Safeway are following state rules and have only expanded to 50 years or older in Nevada County.

“We feel like having more people eligible and not enough appointments is a better problem to have than having unfilled appointments because the people that are interested are not yet eligible,” said Nevada County Health and Human Services Director Ryan Gruver.

Gruver said Nevada County is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases in young people. This comes as the county just barely made it into the red tier last week, earning more freedom for businesses to open. County leaders don’t want progress to slow down.

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“That’s really our ticket out of this is to be able to get people vaccinated quickly,” he said.

However, the county will face an uphill battle.

“We are a community that traditionally has a lot of vaccine hesitancy to begin with, we have one of the lowest, if not the lowest, vaccination rate in the state,” Gruver said.

They hope to convince people, with a reminder of the joy that comes after a jab.

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“It means my kids can go back to school, my wife and I will both be fully vaccinated so there’s a little less concern there and we can see family again hopefully,” Samuels said.