KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that state employees and healthcare workers will be required to provide proof of vaccination or get tested regularly. This announcement comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase throughout the state.
“Our best chance is to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” said Nichole Fisher, the nursing division manager with the Kings County Department of Public Health.
Those 12 years old and older are eligible to get vaccinated. While 75% of the state’s eligible population is vaccinated with at least one dose, it’s a different picture in the Central Valley.
Fresno County’s latest data shows that 56% of the county’s eligible population is vaccinated with at least one dose. It’s 50% in Madera County, according to a spokesperson with the County Department of Public Health.
In Tulare County, a spokesperson with the Health and Human Services Agency said 41% of the county’s eligible population is vaccinated with at least one dose. In Kings County, it’s also 41%.
And within Kings County, Fisher said just 24% of the city of Corcoran’s eligible population is vaccinated with at least one dose.
“It’s been consistently that they don’t trust the vaccine,” Fisher said.
Now, they’re trying to combat that. Fisher said they’re sending outreach teams to have one-on-one conversations with people who are still hesitant to get the vaccine.
Corcoran resident Joe Castro says he got vaccinated in February. He said he did it for himself and his family.
“Last year I lost three close friends to this virus. And it hit home,” Castro said. “We’re at 24% here. I don’t know. It’s mind-boggling.”
State officials on Monday said 80% of recent cases sampled have been the delta variant. As the more contagious variant spreads, both state and local health officials are urging to get the vaccine as soon as they can.
“It’s not the COVID we dealt with a year ago. This is a very different beast and now is the time to get that,” Ghaly said.