COVID-19 vaccine



On this week’s Valley Edition: The Youth Squad. A group of high school students who are working hard to get other teens vaccinated. 

Plus, why some West Fresno residents are concerned about preserving access to social services in their community.

And the effect of wildfire smoke on your health. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.

The surge of the Delta variant of COVID-19 has created new risks for children, especially those with special needs. To better understand the risks, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Dr. David Sine, medical director for the pediatric palliative care program at Valley Children’s Hospital. 

UCSF Fresno, American Ambulance, Sierra View Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center websites

Yet again, Central Valley hospitals are overflowing with COVID-19 patients, which has stretched our medical systems thin and created disturbing consequences for anyone in need of critical care. To learn more about how hospitals are coping with the most recent surge, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Donna Hefner, president and CEO of Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville, Dr. Danielle Campagne, medical director of American Ambulance, Dr. Robert Ferdman, assistant chief of hospital medicine at Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center, and Dr.

Healthy Fresno County facebook page

Coronavirus infections are now spreading faster in the San Joaquin Valley than in any other region of the state. And as hospitals reach critical capacity, health officials are warning that patient care is at risk.


Mariposa County Public Health Facebook page

In the last month, Mariposa County has surged from one of the state’s lowest rates of new COVID-19 cases to one of its highest. As a result, county supervisors recently approved mask and vaccine mandates for county employees.

This week the Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted to extend funding for the Disability Equity Project, a coalition of six local organizations that serve individuals and families living with a wide-range of disabilities. For the past year, these organizations have worked in partnership to help their clients through the pandemic. Exceptional Parents Unlimited, which supports children with special medical and developmental needs, has served as the project’s lead agency.


As the Delta variant continues to spread throughout the San Joaquin Valley, so do calls from public health officials to increase vaccination rates. But as KQED’s Central Valley reporter Alexandra Hall has learned, the reasons why some are avoiding the shot can be more complicated than many think. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with her about what she’s found.



On the next Valley Edition: Access is not an issue, so what is stopping some Tulare County residents from getting the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Plus, Black entrepreneurs share how they are overcoming bias and racism within the wine industry.

And we hear from a travelling nurse who wrote a book about his pandemic work. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 


Fresno County Department of Health Facebook page

As the Delta variant has made its way to the most prevalent COVID-19 variant in the state, other indicators of the pandemic have been rising as well. Statewide, case rates and positivity rates are four to five times higher than they were a month ago, and hospitals are slowly seeing a rise in COVID-positive patients as well.


Now that most pandemic restrictions on houses of worship have been lifted, the Sikh Institute of Fresno looks much like it did pre-COVID. On a recent Sunday at this 3-story, salmon-colored temple known as a gurdwara, people stream in and out of the main worship hall, some wearing traditional saris and kurtas, others in t-shirts and jeans. While they circle the altar, a trio of men playing harmoniums and tabla drums sing hymns known as kirtan in the Northern Indian language of Punjabi.



On the next Valley Edition: Now that pandemic restrictions on places of worship have lifted, some temples serving Punjabi Sikhs have partnered with COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

Plus, what happened after a brush fire tore through four immigrant-owned businesses in a Tulare County community. 

And the danger reckless driving poses to wildlife in Yosemite. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 


Derek Kravitz, Caitlin Antonios and Laura Salcido

Vaccine rollout is proving far more challenging in rural communities, creating what are called vaccine deserts. And according to the Documenting COVID-19 project, a national effort to make pandemic related data more transparent, vaccine deserts are springing up across the San Joaquin Valley, causing concern among public health professionals. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the project’s lead, Derek Kravitz, who works at Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

California Governor Facebook Page

After 15 months of pandemic-related restrictions, California is back open for business. In downtown Clovis, reactions ranged from cautious optimism to elation.

“I still think we should keep our precautions, just to be on the safe side,” says emergency room nurse Angelica Martinez. She’s grateful she hasn’t contracted COVID, but knows the risks aren’t completely gone.


Madi Bolanos / KVPR

Next Tuesday, California is slated to reopen its doors following more than a year of pandemic-related restrictions. The state’s reopening system, known as the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, will dissolve, and businesses and houses of worship will be permitted to open without capacity limits or distancing restrictions.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

In early April, Monterey County and a group of community organizations held a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in a school gym in the rural city of Soledad. In a promotional video produced about the event, locals shared what brought them out to get their vaccinations. “I did it to protect my kids,” said Greenfield farm worker Rosa Chavez in Spanish. “My family encouraged me to take the COVID vaccine…and I feel more secure now,” said Soledad resident Maria Ruiz.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Last August, the state of California introduced a “health equity metric” in its method of evaluating progress in fighting COVID-19. Ostensibly, that meant the state would be grading counties not just on their countywide case rates, positivity rates, testing and (later) vaccine numbers, but also on all of those measures within their most disadvantaged census tracts.

Anne VanGarsse via Zoom

As of earlier this month, 127 kids aged 12 to 17 years old had died of COVID-19 in the United States. The number may pale in comparison to the more than half a million adults who’ve died so far, but because deaths among kids are so rare, the total is still high enough to rank COVID-19 among the leading causes of death among that age group.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many basic questions about the virus have been answered, including how it spreads, how it responds to treatment, and how it affects the body. But even those lessons learned apply mostly to generally healthy people and those with the most common pre-existing conditions, and unknowns still abound for many population subsets—including pregnant women.


Henry Meraz, Leah Whitworth and Etisha Wilbon

On Thursday, the CDC announced something that many have been waiting for, permission for fully vaccinated people to take off their masks in most settings. It was presented as a significant step toward normalcy. But just before that announcement was made, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock had this conversation with mental health professionals about the complicated feelings some of us have about getting back to normal.

Kaweah Health Medical Center

For many of us, hospitals are pillars of communities, representing safety nets that we hope will always be there. But there’s no guarantee they will be. A new report estimates that California’s hospitals have suffered billions of dollars in losses in the last year, and that they could lose billions more before 2021 is through.