Health Officials See Increase In Vaccinations; More Vaccines Needed To Stop Possible Variants

Nico Payne

As we are seeing increased hospitalizations across Riverside County, health officials in Coachella Valley are also seeing a spike in people getting vaccinated. NBC Palm Springs spoke to county officials to ask if they are seeing the increased county-wide and our potential chances of reaching herd immunity.

“We definitely have seen an increase in the number of people that are showing up to these vaccination clinics,” said Alejandro Espinoza, Chief of Community Engagement of Desert Healthcare District.”

The narrative could be changing in The Coachella Valley, Desert Healthcare Network has been hosting vaccination clinics and they are starting to see results.

“We believe it’s due to a wide variety of things, but primarily two main things, I think folks are receiving information now about the different variants and there is a bigger push to ensure members of our community are getting vaccinated. We’re also doing more of targeted door-to-door outreach,” added Espinoza.

Meanwhile, the push to get as many people vaccinated as possible continues.

“It’s in our unvaccinated individuals and communities that continue to be at risk for outbreaks or even continue mutation,” explained Dr. Geoffrey Leung, Public Information Officer of Riverside County.

Federal health officials even warn that if we don’t reach herd immunity, the virus could make a violent comeback.

“If you allow the virus to freely circulate because so many people are unvaccinated, you give it yet again another opportunity to mutate even more and you may wind up with creating a variant that in fact eludes the protection of the vaccine,” explained Dr. Anthony Fauci.

More than half the population in Riverside County is fully vaccinated and after collecting data, public health officials say that around 15% of residents will not get their shot. That leaves a significant portion who are unsure and experts are hoping to steer them towards protection.

“So the difference between that group, that thirty-sum percent, is a group that is still open to being vaccinated, but they may have some questions or they may have some hesitancy, and that is the group we really want to concentrate on,” added Leung.

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