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Lull In COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Leads To Thousands Of Returned Doses – Virus Update For April 23

California Department of Public Health Open Data Portal

*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:

As of 1 week previous, April 15:

As of 4 weeks previous, March 25:

You can always find up-to-date information for your countyhere.


Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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