Lull In COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Leads To Thousands Of Returned Doses – Virus Update For April 23
*Correction 4/24: This interview inadvertently implies that Eric Bream employs undocumented workers, which he does not.*
Soon after COVID-19 vaccines were first developed, health authorities estimated that as much as 40 to 50 percent of the population would be reluctant to get it. However, vaccination clinics in the San Joaquin Valley are already reporting a lull in demand, even though nearly 70 percent of the local population remains unvaccinated. In Fresno County, so many appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine went unfilled last week that health officials redistributed 28,000 doses to other counties, and they’ve reduced their weekly vaccine request to the state by nearly two-thirds.
So what’s given rise to such a slowdown? For some communities, it comes down to barriers that reduce access to some of the Valley’s larger, stationary vaccination clinics; but within others, there's also significant vaccine hesitancy, primarily among whites, adults age 30-49, rural over urban residents, and Republicans rather than Democrats.
This week's COVID update examines locals’ reasons for not getting the vaccine, featuring excerpts of conversations with Donna Clopton, founder of the Oildale Community Action Team, Linda Vang, a community health worker with Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries, and Tulare County citrus grower Eric Bream.
Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot for Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties (note that some numbers may have changed between the interview and publication):
As of April 22:
- 4,781 total deaths out of 329,380 total cases
- 196 people hospitalized and 35 in ICUs
- 50 deaths reported in the last week
- 189 average cases reported daily in last week
- 1,549,044 vaccine doses administered to date
As of 1 week previous, April 15:
- 4,731 total deaths out of 328,059 total cases
- 179 people hospitalized and 36 in ICUs
- 46 deaths reported in the last week
- 257 average cases reported daily in last week
- 1,415,376 vaccine doses administered to date
As of 4 weeks previous, March 25:
- 4,476 total deaths out of 322,682 total cases
- 298 people hospitalized and 63 in ICUs
- 226 deaths reported in the last week
- 279 average cases reported daily in last week
- 927,250 vaccine doses administered to date
You can always find up-to-date information for your county here.