Vaccination rates creep up across U.S. as holdouts get their shots

Vaccination rates are creeping up across the country, spurred by surging COVID-19 and in some cases, business and workplace mandates.

California has seen a 16% bounce in the past week.

Nationally, it's more subtle.  

Last week's 7day rolling average showed 525,000 Americans were vaccinated daily.

This week it's 583,000.

Many of those showing up now are motivated by Covid19 mutations and the realization the pandemic isn't disappearing.  

"Decided to jump on the bandwagon, especially with the delta variant," said Kirsten Manes of Mill Valley.

Tuesday evening, Manes, with her husband and young son came to the Novato Farmers Market for a weekly pop-up clinic.

"I'm happy that I've done it and I can't go back," said Manes.

"I'm slightly concerned about the future of it, but we'll see, fingers crossed."

The couple was hoping to wait until vaccines had final FDA approval, expected in early 2022.

But the rising rate of delta infections, hospitalizations, and break-through cases swayed them.

"I waited to see what vaccine reactions were in other people, after-affects that might raise a red flag, but nothing so far," said spouse Shonn Dougherty.

"So we make a day of it, go to the farmers market, get some fruit, and get a shot!"

Many community clinics report renewed interest.

"It's kind of scary for people because it's realizing that we're dealing with this type of virus that is very challenging," said Marin County Public Health Nurse Jennifer Verling-Chung, who was supervising the farmers market clinic.

"Many who come say it's time, and they're ready to get vaccinated."

New workplace rules requiring vaccination are a motivator as well.

"I'm going to be looking for new work so I see the political climate," said Will Price of San Rafael, baring his arm for a jab.

"It might come up in a job interview, and if I'm asked I'd like to truthfully say that I have been vaccinated."

For the unvaccinated, recurring Covid19 testing may be required by employers, which Price would also rather avoid.  

"That swab up your nose to your brain, it's very quick but it's extremely, extremely unpleasant." 

Physicians welcome more shots in arms, whatever the motivation.

"COVID is not done with us, COVID is still here," said Dr. Chad Krilich, Chief Medical Officer for Providence Health in Sonoma County.

Krilich supervises three hospitals, in Healdsburg, Napa and Santa Rosa.

Collectively they are caring for more than twice as many Covid19 patients as last month.

Santa Rosa's Memorial Hospital has 18 in treatment currently.

"And what we are seeing with these patients is they are younger and they are unvaccinated," noted Krilich.

Around the country, doctors have shared anecdotes, of dying patients asking for vaccine and being told it's too late.

"It is always regrettable when a patient has a preventable disease and asks 'what if?', said Krilich.

"We don't want patients to ask 'what if?' when it comes to Covid."

Among those arriving at vaccine clinics are teenagers, accompanied by worried parents.

"We know people who have had it and we think it's the smart thing to do," said Ron Crestetto, of Petaluma.

Crestetto is vaccinated and wanted the same for his 14-year-old son.

"It was a tough sell, he didn't really want it, his friends are split about half and half," said Crestetto.

The combination of parental persuasion and a $25 gift card giveaway at the clinic, tipped the balance.

"I didn't get Covid so I didn't think I needed it, if I didn't get it yet, I probably wouldn't," said Gavin Tank-Crestetto, who hopes vaccination will clear the way for him to travel with his high-school soccer team.

"He's going back to school, he plays a lot of sports, so we think its the right thing to do to get vaccinated," said Crestetto.