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Fresno County is diverting the COVID vaccine due to low demand. Why don’t people want it?

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Celia Maldonado has made three reservations and canceled each to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from late March.

“I canceled my reservation this week,” said a 31-year-old sophomore Spanish and English dual immersion teacher. “I was very, very worried about this vaccine as a whole because I felt like I didn’t have a clear answer to my concerns. It’s kind of crazy about me.”

Maldonado fears that vaccination can have unexpected long-term side effects, especially in pregnant women.Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Indicates that there is no evidence that vaccination causes problems with pregnancy — And be aware that if pregnant people become infected with COVID, they are actually at increased risk of serious illness – Maldonado’s anxiety prevents her from keeping her promise.

“I’m afraid of that unknown. I know [what] If I get infected with COVID, it can happen to me. I don’t know exactly what could happen to me with this vaccine, “Maldonado said. “I’m not saying I don’t want to get it so far, I’m just saying I want to wait for more data.”

“In the last few weeks it has really turned over … now we have more open appointments and in fact less bookings. [vaccine] Than our full assignment. “

— Rais Vohra, Interim Health Officer, Fresno County

Maldonado’s concerns preceded the CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration’s temporary recommendation to suspend the administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, she said. And as Latina, a woman, a registered Democrat, she said she wasn’t in the category usually associated with vaccine hesitation.

“I was listening to NPR the other day, and there were reports that unvaccinated people were right-wing, evangelical, and this and that, of course, Latinos. , I, well, it’s like a group of people I’m in, “Maldonado said. “But I’m never a trampist. I’m liberal. I feel I should be on the vaccination side, but I’m not.”

Maldonado, who lives in Fresno, is one of the thousands of people who have not been vaccinated in the county because of hesitation, access barriers, or other reasons. And now, in response to low demand, the Fresno County Public Health Service has been assigned a vaccine after local health officials feared that the coveted doses that once fought teeth and nails would suddenly be wasted. A part of is diverted to another place.

Related: FAQ about coronavirus vaccine: What are the side effects? Do you still need to double mask?

“When do we get the vaccine?” In all emails, Dr. Rais Vohra, Interim Health Officer in Fresno County, said in a recent county health briefing:

“For the first few months, we were really focused on trying to meet that population, who really wanted the vaccine and was in a hurry to get it,” Vohra said. It was. “And in the last few weeks it has really turned over. And now we have more open appointments and it’s actually more than a full allocation just because it’s really in local demand. I have few reservations. “

To get more people vaccinated, local health authorities are switching strategies to focus on COVID-19 vaccine education and outreach in areas where people have not been shot. Authorities are also using social media to target young people, move signs to encourage people to vaccinate zip codes with fewer vaccinated people, and prepare investigations to better understand people’s concerns. doing.

“I still have a lot of the same comments we’re hearing. It’s:” I can wait for it. It was developed too early. I’m not going to take it. It’s not safe, “said Joe Prado, Community Health Manager, Fresno County Public Health Department.

San Joaquin Valley, the least vaccinated county

The San Joaquin Valley of California has some of the least vaccinated counties in the state. California Public Health Service data show a high proportion of unvaccinated populations in rural counties, but these figures also indicate that children under the age of 15 are not yet eligible for vaccination. It contains.

It is unclear whether the high proportion of unvaccinated people is due to hesitation, access barriers, both, or other reasons.

The data show a high proportion of whites and, in some cases, a high proportion of Latinos in Sunwalkin Valley County. Not vaccinated in comparison In the state as a whole. The same is true for people between the ages of 18 and 49 in some parts of the region.

However, according to some public health experts, just looking at demographic data can oversimplify the problem.

Dr. Risi Goyal, Dean of the Department of Medicine and Humanities at Columbia University and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Comparative Literature Lead the team It looks at the words used around vaccine repellent on social media and online forums to understand what is driving it.

“There are Somali immigrants in Minnesota who avoid vaccines, right?” Goyal said. “There is a local Republican population hesitating. There are left-handed natural healing enthusiasts who hesitate to vaccine. And I think one size can handle everything. Otherwise, one group of this phenomenon. By blaming us, we are involved in the problems we are facing. Understand it. “

Dr. Karsten Bibins Domingo, professor and chairman of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, strongly desires not to use the term “vaccine hesitarian”.

“In the end, I think most of the people we label are the ones who want the questions answered, right?” Bibins-Domingo said. “And it is for us to label people hesitant when all the problems we are talking about are problems that we should think harder about overcoming in public health. I think it’s a little crackdown. “

“People are just scared”

Heather Olson, a 37-year-old clinical dietitian at Fresno, said he had no plans to vaccinate, at least for now. She works in the ICU unit of a local hospital and deals with alternative nutrition for patients on ventilators, including those admitted with COVID-19.

Related: San Diego County COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

Healthcare workers were advised to get the COVID-19 vaccine early on, but Olson was already exposed to COVID many times and had no contract, so he waited and relied on his immune system. I said I wanted to.

“My immune system feels like it’s doing a pretty good job on its own,” she said. “I think there are many other people who need it. [the vaccine] There are many more at the moment. “

“Most patients with COVID ICU also have other comorbidities, which I keep in mind,” Olson added. “Thankfully, I don’t have these comorbidities. But that’s definitely what I see, see, and think, you know, maybe I randomize a really bad case of it. It may be one of those who receive it, and it doesn’t matter how healthy I am, “she said. “I don’t want to have that attitude, for example,” Oh, that doesn’t happen to me. ” But at the same time, I have that attitude. “

“I always question my decision, but I never think my decision is right for everyone,” Olson said.

Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said:

“They are afraid of being unknown, and for some people the fear of the unknown is greater than the fear of the virus,” Rosenbaum said, with healthcare providers and the public health community messaging. He added that it was the people that were missed when focusing solely on. The need for what she calls “active listening.”

“It’s very intuitive to us when we’re trying to convince people to do something and compose a message,” Rosenbaum said. “I think the actual work is done in the field, you need to talk to people, listen to them, and make them feel understood. I don’t think you can overcome that with a messaging campaign.”

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