Local demand for Covid-19 vaccines drops, health officials work to fill appointments and ease hesitancy

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HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. (KIEM) — Humboldt County health officials held a press conference Wednesday morning giving an update on the county’s ongoing Covid-19 vaccination efforts. Specifically, how they are working to fill open appointments and combat vaccine hesitancy.

Thousands of Covid-19 vaccine doses are available in Humboldt County this week, and tens of thousands of residents are still waiting their turn to get a shot. The Public Health Department continues to push out messaging to help get those open appointments filled.

“I think we went from a scarcity mentality, to an overabundance mentality pretty quickly,” Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman says.

Local health officials attribute the drop off in local demand to the switch to state-based MyTurn scheduling portal and early geofencing issues, poor accessibility, and overall vaccine hesitancy.

“There are going to be folks that are going to need more outreach to get into the clinics, but I don’t think that’s what we’re seeing right now. I think what we’re seeing right now is a switch in mentality, a change in technology, and change in the way we’re getting the vaccine out,” Hoffman adds.

The County has formed a task force dedicated to mobile outreach. It’s working with community partners to reach those who may live in more rural areas and aren’t able to get to a mass vaccination clinic, as well as homebound individuals.

“Another person on the team is coordinating with fire departments, elementary schools, and farmers markets and other places that we can go around the County with a mobile medical unit. We’re also going to use a method of trying to hit every single community in Humboldt County to offer them vaccine, and that is going to be a task that is going on for months,” according to Lindsey Mendez, a member of the County’s vaccine task force.

More information on vaccine clinics can be found on the County’s website, www.humboldtgov.org. You can also schedule an appointment online using MyTurn.