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Vaccine photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

published on May 27, 2021 - 2:38 PM
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Although hospitalizations and case numbers are down, Fresno County health officials warn that the pandemic is not over.

“There’s still many pockets of unvaccinated communities out there,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer for Fresno County.

The county plans to keep incentivizing people to receive the vaccine, and it’s working so far in Kingsburg. Some people who are teetering on the edge of receiving the vaccine are enticed just enough.

Kingsburg was able to utilize all the initial incentives from Fresno County, which allowed 200 more doses to be administered. When the county offers gift cards, its goal is to offer them for nearby businesses and utilize the incentive right around the corner. 

Joe Prado, community health division manager – now assistant director – for Fresno County, said that he’s heard sentiment from the public that the incentives give people the nudge to get vaccinated.

“The incentives are supposed to be the icing on the cake,” Vohra said. 

The point of the incentives is to celebrate the vaccine and give them more reason to spend a morning or afternoon in pursuit of getting one, he said.

Fresno County will also be partnering with local event promoters to host vaccine clinics, he added.

Some theories of skepticism have slowed the vaccine process, but the numbers for inoculation are still slowly increasing. Health officials expect the rampant vaccine efforts to taper off after June. 

Mass vaccination sites will be run in rural areas until the end of June. Sunnyside is included in these closures. 

Over 95% of positive Covid-19 cases, Vohra estimates, are found in people not yet vaccinated. About 1-2% of those vaccinated have had breakthrough Covid-19 cases, but they do not result in hospitalization. 

To date, Fresno County has administered 784,000 doses, amounting to about 40% of the population with at least one dose. Within the 12-17-year-old bracket, 12,000 doses have been administered.

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