BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Vaccines have been key in the battle against COVIUD, however, numbers show lots of people are still hesitant to get one, including in Kern County and public health says it's due to several factors, including things like concerns about cost.
According to Kern Public Health although research is still being done somewhere between 60 and 90 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity. But here in Kern County, that number is well behind.
Kern County’s COVID metrics have been on the decline, and according to public health officials, that has to do with people getting vaccinated. However, CDC data shows the amount of vaccines being administered has been dropping country-wide since April raising concerns over vaccine hesitancy.
“It appears that 25 percent of our population in Kern County has been fully vaccinated. And so we have a lot of work to do," said Michelle Corson, spokesperson for Kern Public Health. “Some patients worry that they’re going to be charged if they don’t have health insurance. We are working to kinda dissuade all of these myths.”
Corson says that one reason for vaccine hesitancy is “cost anxiety.” But why would people have cost anxiety because of a free vaccine?
She says a confusing rollout could be to blame. For example, some providers may have charged an unnecessary administration fee for a vaccine in the early months of the rollout.
“It also could be in relation to people needing to take time off of work,” added Corson.
Federal data shows, about 15 percent of Kern County residents are estimated to either be hesitant or unsure about getting vaccinated. Nearly five percent are considered “strongly hesitant.” Whatever someone’s reason may be for being skeptical, public health says they’re able to answer your questions.
“We know people have questions. And that’s why we have tried to make ourselves available. We have a canvassing team out every day talking to residents to try and answer those questions so they can make educated decisions for themselves,” said Corson.
Some other reasons people are hesitant are because they don't trust health officials, and also because they don't believe that COVID is a true threat.
Corson says Kern County is on the right track again in regards to COVID cases. The county is not seeing an increase in cases. However, the county is not seeing enough of a decrease to get into that less restrictive yellow tier quite yet.
If you have questions about the COVID vaccine, public health can be reached at 321-3000.