BAKERSFIELD, Calif — According to the Kern County Public Health Department, since the county has gained access to the COVID-19 vaccines, they have seen a steady increase in the community-making vaccine appointments. But, over the past few weeks, they have seen a significant dip with more people becoming hesitant about the vaccine.
“We did see, ironically at the same time that there was a pause of the J&J vaccine, we did experience at the same time, a slowing of appointments,” Michelle Corson, Public Relations Officer with Kern County Public Health, said.
Thirty-one states throughout the U.S, including California, are now once again administering the J&J vaccine after it was put on pause for over a week. But, some residents, according to Public Health, are still showing some concern and vaccine hesitation.
“What we are hearing from residents is obviously there is a concern there is a desire for information. There is concern about side effects we believe,” Corson said.
According to Public Health, the week of April 12th, the same time the J&J vaccine was put on hold, about 35,000 thousand vaccines were administered. The week prior nearly 50,000 vaccines were administered which is a 30% drop.
But, not only is there some hesitancy with making appointments, but throughout the country, more than 5 million people have missed their second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna.
“It is something that we are seeing, in fact, we have put up some social media and some billboards addressing the importance of getting your second dose,” Corson said.
Not only has public health put out public signs, but, as of Monday, they have created a new public health nurse line where residents can call to ask questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, in hopes to calm any concerns as well as continue to get more of the community vaccinated.
“Think of your loved ones. Think of your community. This is the way we are going to, as a community, move further into opening our businesses and thriving and getting back to a sense of normalcy,” Corson said.
Right now, Kern County still remains in the orange tier, but Corson is optimistic that the county is on the right track to move into the least restrictive yellow tier within a few weeks, which will allow bars to open at 25% capacity, gyms at 50%, and live event venues at 67%.
“We are doing great. Our community is doing fantastic and we just continue to ask you to stay safe and get vaccinated,” Corson said.