FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – With the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine slowing down throughout Fresno County, Saint Agnes Medical Center, along with community partners, aimed to meet people where they’re at and make the vaccine more accessible on Tuesday.
They held a clinic at the Community Center for the Arts and Technology, and organizers say the hope was to reach people who live in certain zip codes like 93701 and 93706. Both of those zip codes have lower vaccination rates than many other parts of the county.
“Just a couple of weeks ago I was reached and asked if we could provide a facility and that’s what we did,” said Armando Valdez, the executive director of the Community Center for the Arts & Technology. He said the goal was to reach teenagers who are 16 and older and their families.
According to the county’s most recent data, nearly 36% of the county’s population is vaccinated with at least one dose. But in zip code 93701, it’s just 22%, and in 93706, it’s 27%. But in 93720 in Northeast Fresno, it’s nearly 50%, and in 93619 in Clovis, it’s 55%.
Marisela Sosa, a community health worker with Saint Agnes Medical Center, said they’ve seen a drop in demand for the vaccine at their clinics.
“We’ve been trying to figure out why is that decline. With the help of our community partners, they’ve been able to ask the people why they’re not coming, why they’re not showing up to their appointments. One of the things that we found out, it’s the lack of education,” Sosa said.
During the clinic on Tuesday, people could register beforehand or walk-in. And before people got vaccinated, sheets of paper with answers to commonly asked questions were provided.
Shary Fernandez got her second dose of the vaccine on Tuesday at the clinic. She said she’s had COVID-19 before, so it was an easy decision.
“I think I will be very happy in the future that I did this, to not have COVID again,” Fernandez said.
But while some people have been eager to get the vaccine, others still have many doubts, with misinformation on social media playing a role.
“Just today alone, five parents called me to cancel, they were going to bring their 18-year-olds, 19-year olds,” Valdez said. “When I spoke with some of the kids, they were telling me that they were a little scared because they’ve been seeing a lot of things on social media.”
Sosa said the hope was to administer 100 doses, but they administered 70.
Valdez said more outreach and education are needed, and they are planning for another clinic at the center.