Over the last two weeks, California has seen a substantial increase in the number of people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as more businesses and venues are moving to require the shot.
In San Luis Obispo County, public health clinic officials say they’re seeing a slight uptick in vaccination rates, but they’re lagging behind that of the rest of California.
“We’re not where we want to be, but we’re definitely beginning to see a small increase," said County of San Luis Obispo Emergency Medical Services Director Vince Pierucci.
As of July 25, about 66% of eligible County residents have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 58% are fully vaccinated, and about 34% remain unvaccinated, according to RecoverSLO.org.
“It just goes back to our inability to get people to come out and vaccinate. We really want to encourage folks to come out and get vaccinated,” said Pierucci.
Pierucci explained that the slight boost in vaccinations is due to an increase in awareness of just how infectious the Delta variant is.
“The spread of the Delta variant is very serious, and they’re seeing that our hospitalizations, our deaths, and our active cases are actually tied to those that are not vaccinated,” Pierucci added.
Amid the new surge of infections, a growing number of employers are moving toward mandating their workers to be vaccinated. Along with that, more retailers and restaurants are also beginning to require customers to provide proof of their vaccination status.
“I think that it’s kind of invasive in people’s privacy,” said Lotus owner Alexandra Nguyen.
But many San Luis Obispo business owners, like Nguyen, won’t be requiring customers to show their vaccine cards. Others believe showing proof of vaccination in indoor businesses would help them feel safer.
“I feel like it could help slow the spread of the virus among unvaccinated people, keeping unvaccinated people out of closed places,” said San Luis Obispo resident Michael Wong.
Even with the recent uptick, it will likely take months before enough Californians reach herd immunity, according to local health officials.
San Luis Obispo County Public Health clinics also launched a vaccine incentive program starting this month. Residents who get their vaccine will be eligible to receive a $25 gift card for each dose. There’s also a referral raffle for residents who help their friends and family get vaccines to enter in a weekly drawing for a gift basket.