The blazing pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is beginning to slow. After months of maxing out appointments at nearly every site across the state, vaccine appointments are now beginning to go unfilled.
“I think in some places in the state, the supply has outstripped the demand, we have more supply than people who want it,” said State Health Director Dr. Cara Christ.
Dr. Christ says rural areas like Yuma reflect it in the numbers of unused appointments at the area’s new state vaccine site.
“We opened up the mass vaccination site and we still have hundreds of appointments available each day at that site,” said Dr. Christ.
Vaccine hesitancy could be playing a factor as we move towards more of the general population.
According to a recent study, seven out of ten vaccine-hesitant adults say they were concerned about adverse effects. More than $65 million that is now coming to the state from the CDC will be used to target underserved communities and neighborhoods still unsure about the shot.
“I think what people need to understand is every vaccine is just another little piece of stopping community spread,” said Bethany Robertson, founder of Parents Together.
She says adults aren’t only unsure about themselves but for their kids as well.
“The vast majority of them say yes, they’re ready but there are a number of folks, about a quarter of parents who are still hesitant, or what I really would say is unsure, they just haven’t made up their mind yet,” said Robertson.
A recent study showed people with household incomes below $35,000 a year are far more resistant to getting the vaccine for themselves or their children than those above 75,000 per year.
Ethnicity also seems to play a role, with African American and Latino parents much more hesitant than white families.
“African American and Hispanic parents were seventy percent more likely to be unsure,” said Robertson.
The state hopes new PSAs featuring prominent community leaders and legendary athletes, as well as on-the-ground investment in outreach programs and pop-up clinics in targeted communities can make the difference, and is something they’ll look to increase in the coming weeks.