About 46% of Californians are fully vaccinated. That’s one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, but it’s still lower than the number we need to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror.
While the state is doing a decent job at getting people vaccinated, convincing hesitant people has been a challenge -- and other states with lower vaccination rates are starting to see surges in COVID-19 infections.
As the state prepares to fully reopen and lift most COVID-19 restrictions in just four days, some are concerned the vaccination lag and spread of variants could raise the risk of another wave, launching a final push for more shots in arms.
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On Friday morning, a mobile vaccination site in downtown San Diego didn’t even bother opening because not enough people had registered to get the shot.
Another site had only seven registrations booked, but was welcoming walk-ins.
It’s a sharp contrast to a few weeks ago, when hundreds waited in long lines to get vaccinated at Mar Vista High School.
Less than 200 people registered to get the shot there Friday.
“It was calm. I just went in and had to wait about five minutes. I believe I saw maybe two, three [patients] inside,” Alek Najar said after getting his second dose of the vaccine at the high school site. “When I got my first dose, there were a bunch more people.”
It's a trend across the country -- vaccine rates plunging as new daily COVID-19 case and death tolls rise for a third straight day in the U.S.
California was administering roughly 400,000 doses a day when the vaccine rolled out -- that daily average is now about 135,000.
“I just came in and walked in right away,” said Florence Suarez after getting her first dose Friday morning at Mar Vista. “There weren’t that many people.”
Suarez told NBC 7 she couldn’t wait to get vaccinated.
“I'm so excited… I don't even have words,” she said. “I haven't seen my parents in a year, and I want to see them for the Fourth of July.”
She said as we prepare for the state to full reopen on June 15, people can’t afford to get comfortable.
“If people are not conscious enough and think that because the rates have lowered, you can just lower your masks too… you're putting a lot of people in danger,” she said. “They don't know that the risk is still out there.”
Najar said he hopes more vaccinated people will encourage those still hesitant to get the shot.
“I kind of get why some people don't want to do it, but you have to have faith that there's going to be a silver lining in the end,” he said. “Don’t be afraid, have faith.”
San Diego County will keep dozens of mobile vaccine sites open through June to try and get more shots in arms even after the state reopens next week.
County officials say vaccine outreach will stay in high gear through the summer.