Rural areas of Fresno County seeing low COVID-19 vaccine rates

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the county, state and nation see more cases of the highly-contagious Delta variant, Nelson Henry is no longer taking a chance when it comes to contracting COVID.

"I'm a truck driver," he said. "I travel all over the states, figured this thing is getting worse, got little grandkids and don't want to bring it home to them," he said.

This month, Fresno County health officials reported cases have been growing by hundreds each day.

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"I have friends that have friends that have died from it, and I have family members that have gotten sick, too," Henry said. "People have said it's a hoax. It isn't a hoax. There are people out there really getting it."

Experts believe that it's because of the Delta variant that more people like Nelson are rolling up their sleeves for the shot.

"This is Delta variant coming into play," says Fresno County Health Division Manager Joe Prado. "We were averaging anywhere from 1,800 to 2,000 doses per day, but we have seen some 3,000 dose days this past week."

But it's a vast difference in vaccine numbers for specific communities.

A map provided by the Fresno County health department shows the vast vaccine discrepancy.

While darker parts of the map, like Clovis, represent high vaccine rates, in communities including west Fresno and Coalinga, less than 40 percent of people are vaccinated.

Still, many health experts remain hopeful that with FDA approval on the way, vaccine numbers will likely continue to climb.
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