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COVID Vaccines: Santa Clara County Launches Outreach Teams To Aid Holdouts

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Having gone from a shortage to a surplus of the vaccine, public health officials in Santa Clara County say they're making a renewed push to convince holdouts and the vaccine hesitant to sign up for their shots.

"When we go business to business, there's a lot of misinformation that leads to fear. A lot of the employees are misinformed about what the shot is," Matthew Aung of the county's vaccine outreach team told KPIX 5.

The team has been going door to door, to homes and business in some of the county's hardest hit communities.

On Tuesday, the outreach team blanketed one of San Jose's poorer neighborhoods, visiting businesses near the intersections of King and Story Roads.

San Jose Vaccine Outreach Team
Santa Clara County vaccine outreach team on the streets of San Jose on April 20, 2021. (CBS)

"I was afraid at first. But my in-laws, they're close to 70 years old, they got vaccinated first and they didn't have any side effects," said Tina Kim, the owner of a newly opened Poke restaurant, Bowl K.

In Santa Clara County, 58 percent of the population is partially vaccinated, having received at least one of their two shots. Public health officials' estimate 85 percent of the population 16 and older would need to receive their shot in order to achieve so-called herd immunity.

"One of the things that we need to be cognizant of is that there are some people who are still hesitant to get the vaccine. And really the onus is on us to do outreach and education to get more people interested in getting the vaccine," says Dr. Ahmed Kamal with Santa Clara County's Public Health Department.

In addition to combatting misinformation, the outreach teams also try to bridge cultural, language and technology barriers to help people line up appointments.

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