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The minimal fluctuation in the vaccine fuels the recovery of COVID in California



A number of factors are fueling California’s remarkable shift from the national epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic to one of the lowest incidence rates in the United States.

But one weapon in his arsenal went largely unnoticed: the common embrace of Californians with COVID-19 vaccines.

Federal data show that only about 11 percent of Californians are rated hesitant by the vaccine, the lowest percentage of all but four states: Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Hawaii.

This relative lack of reluctance is undoubtedly a boon to the state̵

7;s inoculation campaign – although the Times’ analysis shows Californians in some of the state’s conservative rural areas remain more likely to receive the shots than their urban neighbors.

According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services based on research from the U.S. Census Bureau, the seven counties in California identified as most suspicious of COVID-19 vaccines are Yuba, Del Norte, Plumas, Modoc, Siskiyou, Lassen and Kings.

The proportion of populations in these counties that are considered to be hesitant about the vaccine – meaning that they probably would not or definitely would not receive the COVID-19 vaccine when available – ranges from 14% to 16%.

By comparison, the percentages in the least volatile of California’s 58 counties – San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Orange and Alameda – are between 7% and 9%, according to federal estimates.

Officials and experts say there is no underlying reason why certain groups or individuals are more skeptical about doses than others. Some may be skeptical for political reasons or because of deep-seated distrust of health systems that have long been neglected or eavesdropped on.

Other people may feel uncomfortable with the apparent speed with which vaccines have been developed.

In Los Angeles County, where approximately 11% of the population may be hesitant, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said she did not think it was unreasonable for people to “seek more information before deciding when and whether to get vaccinated.” to better understand security and safety issues. “

“They want to make sure they understand, ‘Why bother getting vaccinated?’ What is the effectiveness of this? she said during a recent briefing.

There are signs that interest in the vaccine has declined in the county recently. There was a 50 percent drop in first-dose appointments last week, Ferrer said, and city officials said Friday that the vaccination site at Dodger Stadium – one of the largest in the country – would close by the end of May.

The fact that some people are reluctant to get vaccinated is not surprising, officials and experts say. Part of the population has long been resistant or outwardly hostile to any inoculations, and this is unlikely to change, even in a pandemic.

Although it is doubtful that the entire population will ever be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, health experts say a smaller but still significant share – usually estimated at 80% or higher – is what is needed. to achieve herd immunity, the threshold at which they are sufficiently protected against transmission that the coronavirus is unlikely to spread.

Too many people who refuse to be vaccinated would prolong California’s march toward widespread protection. And with the release of the vaccine in the fifth month, there are fears that those who are eager to roll up their sleeves may have already been vaccinated, leaving a much more difficult task: convincing those who are less inclined to fire.

Even if the state reaches herd immunity, there are fears that the large number of vaccines in certain communities will still give the coronavirus ample opportunities to spread, further prolonging the pandemic.

“We can’t hide behind what the average number is. We need to look in our pockets, “where the show can stay,” said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, a medical epidemiologist and infectious disease expert and professor at UCLA Fielding of Public Health.

Although officials warn against reading too much about small geographical differences, the calculated lists of hesitation fit well – though not entirely – with the range of vaccines at the county level in California.

In Lassen County, for example, only about 20% of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine – easily the lowest in the state, according to data collected by The Times.

Kings County has the third lowest percentage, 25%; Yuba fourth lowest, 27%; Modoc fifth lowest, 28%; and Del Norte – the seventh lowest, 31%.

The counties of Siskiyou and Plumas, although doing a little better, still have single-dose coverage, which lags well behind the national average.

On the other hand, the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin rank among the nine largest countries in terms of at least partial vaccination – with a range between 56% and 66%. Orange County is at 47.3%.

Across the country, approximately 46% of Californians have received at least one dose.

Dr. Aaron Keriati, director of the medical ethics program at UC Irvine and a member of the Orange County Vaccine Task Force, said it was crucial to recognize “that the population of California is not homogeneous – there are cultural, ethnic, moral, religious and medical differences between individuals ”and to refine“ a public health strategy that thinks through this diversity ”.

Among those Californians who chose not to risk the vaccine was Mary Maguire, 59, a resident of West Los Angeles who said she had a history of allergic reactions to vaccines. However, the decision made her worry amid growing pressure to fire.

“We know that the vaccine is not 100% safe and that some people will have problems, even if it is a small percentage. It’s good to write this off as not a big deal until you become the person who has the problem, “Maguire said. “I believe that science – I’m not an anti-waxer – and if I didn’t have this story, I probably would have acquired it by now. Many of us have legitimate concerns. “

Terre Dunivan, 62, a graphic designer from San Luis Obispo, said there were no political objections to the vaccine. Rather, she worries whether the potential effects on people with autoimmune diseases have been fully studied.

“I don’t believe they’ve figured out how to deal with people who have the problems I have,” said Dunivan, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. “It’s just that rush to get everything out there.”

While federal estimates suggest that only a relative proportion of Californians can cope with vaccination, other polls show a far higher level of resistance.

In a survey published in March by the California Institute of Public Policy, 21% of adult respondents said they were unlikely to receive or definitely would not receive the vaccine.

Among those with the highest rates of hesitation are registered Republicans, 39% of whom say they are unlikely to or will not be vaccinated.

This view is shared by 19% of independents and only 10% of registered Democrats.

All seven counties of California with the highest percentage of hesitation elected Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

In the same PPIC poll, about 29 percent of black Californians said they probably wouldn’t or definitely wouldn’t get the vaccine, up from 55 percent in January. Among Hispanics, 22% are hesitant, a percentage that is unchanged from the previous two months.

This view is shared by 20% of whites and 5% of Asians.

Fluctuations in the black community are due in part to historical mistrust in the health care system following racial differences in access and events such as the notorious US Tuskegee experiment – in which doctors used blacks as involuntary test subjects for decades, delaying treatment for syphilis long after treatment was found.

As of March 29, nearly half of those surveyed by the Census Bureau said they were hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because they were concerned about potential side effects. Nearly 39% say they plan to wait and see if the shots are safe.

However, 36.1% said they did not trust the vaccines, 28.6% said they did not trust the government, 27.6% said they did not believe they needed them, and 20.3% said they did not. they know if the vaccines will work.

In the future, health officials say it is vital to remove all potential barriers to access to vaccines so that those who have been on the fence do not face any obstacles when they decide to get off it.

California is working with community training groups to educate residents through reliable sources of the vaccine and is launching media campaigns in various languages, trying to reach out to those who may not be sure whether to shoot.

The Times writer Rong-Gong Lin II contributed to this report.




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