The COVID-19 delta variant makes up more than 80% of new cases in the U.S., alarming health experts across the country over low vaccination rates.
In California, 64.1% of eligible residents have gotten vaccinated, while the total for full vaccination is just 52.3%, according to NPR. Sacramento County’s vaccination rate is just under 50%, but in some neighborhoods, the rate drops to as low as 35%.
“Until a few weeks ago, we were doing well,” Dr. Olivia Kasirye said to CapRadio’s Insight Host Vicki Gonzalez. “The numbers were going in the right direction … In the past few weeks we’ve had an unfortunate turn, and the numbers are going up.”
Kasirye said that Sacramento County is getting about 200 COVID-19 cases a day, with the case rate climbing to 14.7 per 100,000 people. She attributes part of this increase to the vastly more contagious delta variant and the fact that we’re still not meeting targets for vaccination rates.
“We would ideally want to be at 70% vaccination, but we still have a long way to go,” she said. “If you look by zip code, some of the zip codes are doing really well. But then we have those areas, especially in the underserved communities, where the vaccination rates are low.”
Kasirye was hoping we’d be further along by now, but recognizes that we need to address misinformation, especially in social media — a barrier for those who are hesitant to get vaccinated.
“They are watching what they're seeing on social media and thinking that information is correct,” she said. “So we need to be able to dispel that. And it's a lot of work.”
Kasirye says that everyone has a role to play toward building herd immunity. For those already vaccinated and believe they’ve done their duty, she says, it's now their turn to help others get protected.
“We just continue to encourage them, thank them that they did the right thing, but also continue to ask them actually to work with us to to talk to people that they know in their circle that they can encourage to get vaccinated because they might have the biggest influence on the people that related to them or their friends,” she said.
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