By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Moving from major vaccine hubs to door-to-door outreach — Sacramento leaders are turning to a more one-on-one approach to raise the vaccination rates in areas that need it most.

Councilmember Mai Vang and State Senator Dr. Richard Pan were among volunteers canvassing hundreds of homes in the South Sacramento community. The goal was to encourage vaccinations and educate others who may be hesitant or resistant.

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The area has some of the worst vaccination rates in the region – only 50% of people have gotten both shots, according to state data by zip code.

“It’s devastating,” said Sherry Jackson-Curtis.

She was stunned to learn how many of her neighbors aren’t vaccinated. She’s called South Sacramento home for 32 years and has an abundance of love for the others who live there, too.

“It’s one of the most important things to me in the world,” said Jackson-Curtis.

It’s why she cares so much to protect them, especially in the pandemic.

She helped coordinate a door-to-door vaccine clinic. Volunteers like Maisel took to the streets to educate others about the importance of the shot.

“They said it’s way too early for it,” Maisel said, relaying some of the reasons people give her about refusing the vaccine. Each un-vaccinated person has their own reason, too.

Jackson-Curtis has heard them all – from concerns over things like infertility to conspiracies like micro-chips.

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“Some can be sane and some can be a reach,” Jackson-Curtis said. “But the group I’m having the most issues with are the ages 25-42.”

“It doesn’t surprise me, because a lot of people here are a little careless,” said Salvador Lopez.

He said he wasn’t shocked by the data. Other areas, like North Highlands and Citrus Heights, have even worse numbers.

It’s a stark difference from areas like midtown Sacramento, with around 85% of its population vaccinated. Davis also has high vaccination numbers. It’s why community leaders say access for all matters.

“It’s so important to literally bring these vaccines to their homes,” said Councilmember Vang, who talked with CBS13 about the hesitation some may have. “I never talk about vaccines as hesitation. I think it’s more about preparing folks and getting them ready for it.”

More than 50 people signed up and got the shot at Sunday’s clinic. But members of Vang’s staff said around 900 homes were knocked on by numerous volunteers. It’s unclear how many people refused the vaccine, weren’t home at the time or already got inoculated. They plan to hold events like this again in the future.

But this initiative is imperative to health leaders, like Dr. Pan, as COVID numbers climb once again.

“We need to get the overall viral numbers down,” Dr. Pan said.

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To do that, he said every person has the chance to take a shot — with their vaccine, especially when the opportunity comes knocking.