Kern County residents share their concerns with getting the COVID vaccine

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – After more than a year of this pandemic, it’s hard to believe things could soon return to normal. For many, the first step is getting vaccinated. But some Kern County residents disagree.

“I just don’t want to take that risk quite yet,” said Aramee Wilkinson, Kern County resident. “I want to wait until they have more case studies and see how people reacted to it and why they reacted to it.”

The CDC released a recent study that examined almost 4,000 people who had received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The results showed the vaccine to be effective in preventing COVID infections and spread. But residents share a skepticism towards something new and unfamiliar.

“There really haven’t been studies that have lasted long enough to determine safety,” said Ruth Bliss, Kern County resident.

Some say they’re more comfortable waiting a while longer, and continuing to follow CDC guidelines to stay healthy.

“I’ve gone this many months without catching it,” said Virginia Partee. “We’re just being careful, washing our hands, staying away from people, wearing our mask.”

These residents are not alone. According to a poll by the Associated Press, 30% of Americans are skeptical of the vaccine.

“Of course this is an individual decision but these vaccines, these three vaccines are highly effective and safe,” said Michelle Corson with Kern Public Health. “And we’re really encouraging our residents to engage in these conversations, talk to your doctor, go to a reliable source so you can learn about these vaccines for yourself.”

A majority of Kern is not vaccinated. Around 27% of people in Kern County have received at least one dose. And yet, Kern has more available vaccine appointments than most other counties in the state. Kern Public Health believes that will soon change.

“The feedback we heard from our canvassing teams on the ground were there were folks that wanted to get vaccinated but they didn’t think it was their turn,” Corson said. “So we believe that’s been a large barrier that we’ve just broken down.”

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