New data shows disparity in vaccination rates across the Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The most recent data from the California Department of Public Health shows over 600,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the Central Valley. It's helping the community get closer to herd immunity, but disparity within local counties remains high.

"There is even a diverse story within the area in terms of where our rural communities are lagging compared to those that have the most health care access in their region, " said Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner, co-director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State.

Vaccination rates are not the same across the board, and Dr. Pacheco says the trend is pretty clear and expected.

"When the pandemic first came about, people in the rural communities had problems accessing health care, so we knew this would be an issue," Dr. Pacheco said.

This dashboard breaks it down, showing Fresno areas at 46.3% and Clovis regions at 50.4%.

Meanwhile, rural communities like Parlier and Del Rey are in the low 30s.

"We really have a long way to go in terms of catching people up," Dr. Pacheco said.

The Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State has partnered with multiple organizations to set up mobile clinics according to the weekly vaccination rates. Dr. Pacheco says this effort is dear and near to her heart.

"My parents were farm workers when I was a kid, so that is a personal thing to me to see these communities being mostly impacted like the communities of Mendota and Orange Cove," she said.

She believes the push to even out the playing field across the Central Valley is vital to reach the big goal.

"When it comes to reaching that herd immunity status, we need to help our rural communities so we can all get there as soon as possible," she said.

One mobile clinic at a time.
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