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While vaccine availability is up, work still needs to be done in rural areas and education

For communities of color, it’s a lack of trust preventing them from getting it.

CALIFORNIA, USA — California officials hope to reopen the state fully in June. As we move closer to that date, ABC10 spoke with Dr. Tom Hopkins from Roseville about vaccine hesitancy, lots of available vaccination appointments and if the state will really open on the projected date.

Here are the three biggest takeaways from our conversation with Dr. Hopkins:

1. We’re seeing a lot of open vaccination appointments when they were hard to find before.

“We’re seeing the slowing down of that big demand because we have a good supply right now,” Hopkins said. He believes some may think fewer people are getting vaccinated when it’s really the supply has increased.  

2. Rural and communities of color are dealing with vaccine hesitancy

“In rural areas, there’s been a problem with access in general. To higher quality care and in some cases affordable care," he said. "Some of the people in rural communities have been kind of left out in this whole process."

Hopkins said it’s a lack of information and education keeping rural residents from getting the vaccine.

They don’t see that sense of urgency, they may be in an area where it doesn’t seem like COVID is an issue for them,” Hopkins said.

For communities of color, it’s a lack of trust preventing them from getting it.

“Suspicion that the virus is not really somehow going to affect them when we know that it really is and that they represent a high-risk group. We also know that there’s people who don’t trust based on past experiences, historical perspectives,” Hopkins said. “For me being a part of that population is to really lead by example. To show the data, that the numbers have decreased.. the number of COVID deaths in the high-risk population and to show that when you get the vaccine there’s no adverse effects.”

3. It’s hard to predict if we will actually fully re-open on June 15.

Hopkins said cases, hospitalizations and deaths are down but with new variants, everyone has to continue to wear a mask, social distance, and get vaccinated.

“Even if that happens, you can’t let your guard down. Because again the tiers were set up for a reason what we don’t want to do is go back.”

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