KERMAN, Calif. (KSEE) – California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris on Wednesday visited the Kerman Community Center, one of the vaccination sites in Fresno County, and talked about COVID-19 vaccinations in the Central Valley.
Burke Harris spoke in Spanish during the visit, aiming to reach the Latino Community.
“One of the things we recognize is that some of our vulnerable communities like many of our farmworker communities, our Latino community, especially here in the Central Valley, we’re seeing lower rates of vaccinations,” Burke Harris said.
Burke Harris said more than 65% of those who are eligible to get the vaccine in California have received at least one dose.
However, vaccination rates are lower in the Central Valley.
Per Fresno County’s most recent data, 51% of residents who are eligible to get the vaccine have received at least one dose.
“That’s why I’m here today. Because we want folks in Fresno County to know how important it is for everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Burke Harris said. “We don’t want to go backwards. The more people who are unvaccinated, the more opportunity the virus has to replicate, and when it replicates it can mutate.”
Burke Harris was joined by Fresno County Supervisor Brian Pacheco and Fresno County Department of Public Health Interim Director David Luchini.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to get more people vaccinated if we’re really going to get out of this COVID crisis and I think we see examples around the world if we let our guard down and so we really got to keep moving and answer people’s questions,” Luchini said.
For 17-year-old Axel Ortigoza, who got the second dose of the vaccine on Wednesday at the Kerman Community Center, it was about loved ones.
“That’s mostly my main motivation,” Ortigoza said. “Keep my family safe and anyone I’m around.”
According to the Fresno County Department of Public Health, many vaccination sites, including the Kerman Community Center and the Fresno Fairgrounds, will be closing down at the end of June. They say they’ll be shifting more focus to mobile vaccination sites.
Vaccine appointments can be made at myturn.ca.gov.