FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the Central Valley continues, weeks after the pediatric vaccine was given emergency use authorization from the Federal Drug Administration.
Less than 5% of Tulare, Madera and Fresno County 5 to 11-year-olds have the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fresno County has ended the contract with Sierra Pacific Orthopedic for the drive-thru clinic due to the low demand for the pediatric vaccine and the booster.
“We haven’t seen what we thought or what we had hoped and what the county had hoped,” said Rick Lembo with Sierra Pacific Orthopedic. “We have probably vaccinated about 50-60 pediatric doses at this point.”
The drive-thru clinic was practically a ghost town on Tuesday, with nearly no cars coming through.
Of those that were at the clinic, hardly any have been filled with children under the age of 12 since the FDA gave the green light for the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine at the end of October.
“I think overall, from our lens,” said Lembo. “We haven’t seen as much of an uptick.”
There are around 112,000 5 to 11-year-olds in Fresno County.
According to the Fresno County Health Department, 5% of that population has a vaccine.
The health department has partnered with Fresno Unified School District to bring vaccine clinics to over 30 elementary schools. Those clinics started vaccinating this last Tuesday. Clovis Unified does not have any clinics set up and is referring parents to physicians.
Over in Tulare, Public Health Emergency Manager Annette Burgos said the county has given out around 1,000 pediatric doses and is working with local schools to set up more clinics.
“We want to do everything that we can to offer it,” said Burgos. “And to make sure that we have it available for any of the residents that are choosing to be vaccinated.”
Maderia Public Health Manager Miravel Navarro said around 3% of 5 to 11-year-olds are vaccinated in the county.
She said the county has turned one of the vaccine rooms into a playroom as an incentive.
“There are books, there are toys, there are stickers,” said Navarro. “That way when the family comes in to vaccinate their children, the parent also gets vaccinated as well. During that time, we also offer a family photo, like a COVID family photo vaccination.”