Fresno County not close to herd immunity, health officials say

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dr. Kenny Banh remains hopeful that herd immunity is possible, but Fresno County is nowhere close.

The CDC says across the nation, 56 percent of adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fresno County lags behind at 47 percent.

Dr. Banh believes the one thing keeping the county from herd immunity is simply vaccine hesitancy.

"It's not becoming so much of an access issue, it's not becoming an inventory vaccine issue," he said. "It's becoming the fact that there are a lot of adults that are eligible that do not want to get the vaccine at this point."

The UCSF Fresno COVID-19 Equity Project is combating vaccine hesitancy with education and increasing access to the shot, even hosting mobile outreach.

Ultimately, he says there first needs to be a major change in the mindset of those who are resistant and in the future, there may need to be requirements for people to get the shot.

Our ABC-owned television data journalism team created a map using data from the Census Bureau.

It shows the highest vaccine hesitancy in parts of North Dakota and Wyoming, where more than 30% of people are not inclined to get the shot.

Vaccine hesitancy among people in Central California ranges from 12 to 16 percent.

"If grandma can do, you can do it," says Dr. John Zweifler with the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

Fresno County Public health Department also points to how the vaccine has benefited the elderly population.

The county has given at least one shot to 80 percent of seniors.

It's making a big difference.

"We've seen dramatic reductions in illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths in that exact same elderly population and at the same time, we are seeing rising cases in the younger population who are not vaccinated - a really strong case for getting vaccinated," Dr. Zweifler said.

The FDA is set to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 to 15 years old.

Dr. Banh says there are about 17 million people in that age group, which he says is helpful in getting more of the population immune
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.