BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Governor Gavin Newsom didn’t quite roll up his sleeve but he did take his second dose of the Moderna booster. Administered by Secretary of Health & Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly at Clinica Sierra Vista on Wednesday, the governor reminded Californians that vaccines and boosters are readily available.

“We are doing better than many other states,” said Newsom. “We have to be mindful of the rising trajectory, hospitalizations are much milder but creeping modestly back up.”

Statewide, 75.5 million first-time doses of the vaccine have been administered, and locally more than 538,000 Kern residents have received at least one dose.

“The state continues to be a leader as far as access to vaccinations,” said Newsom. “As far as our efforts to reach out to communities so that underserved communities are not left behind.”

According to the California Department of Healthcare Services’ latest vaccine report, vaccine rates in low-income households remain low. About 57% of low-income Californians enrolled in Medi-Cal, the state-funded health insurance program for low-income residents, have received one dose of the vaccine compared to 84% of Californians.

Clinica Sierra Vista is one of the healthcare centers that serve hundreds of patients, predominantly low-income, Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

“The vaccination rate in the Central Valley is still fairly low compared to the state,” said Dr. Olga Meave, Clinica’s Interim CEO. “Here at Clinica, we are doing a good job of promoting the vaccines for every patient that comes in.”

Newsom’s visit comes a day after the FDA expanded eligibility for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster doses to children ages 5 to 11. The visit also serves as a reminder to keep that immunity up, especially if it has been more than 5 months since the last dose of the vaccine, a reminder that comes as positive cases are spiking statewide.

A month ago, Kern County reported 23 daily cases whereas, in the week ending May 13, the county reported around 66 daily cases. Most cases reported were among the 18 – 49 age group.

“This is nothing to be alarmed of at this moment,” said Newsom “We have a plan the SMARTER plan as we turn the page from a pandemic to an endemic.”