Coronavirus: UCSF doctor predicts 'even anti-vaxers' will be lining up for COVID-19 vaccination

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Flu vaccination rates in California are well below the national average, but health experts tell the ABC7 I-Team we won't see the same trend once a COVID vaccine is available.

California is struggling when it comes to flu vaccination rates.

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According to an ABC7 data analysis, 47 percent of the state's population was vaccinated last year. That is far below the national goal of 70 percent.

California ranks low on the list as 36 in the nation.

"It won't stay that way," said Dr. Jaime Sepulveda, who is the executive director for the Institute of Global Health Sciences at UCSF. "I expect COVID-19 vaccination rates will be exceedingly high, we all want to be vaccinated if we have a safe and effective vaccine."

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Despite low ranks with flu vaccinations, Dr. Sepulveda said studies show just the opposite for COVID-19 vaccinations.

"Let's remember COVID-19 has a fatality rate 10 times higher than influenza," he said. "When we have a safe and effective vaccine, we will see people lining up... even anti-vaxers."

Sepulveda attributes his prediction to the fear surrounding the disease.

His team ranks California as 'above average' when it comes to overall health and safety.

According to an ABC7 analysis, the latest CDC data supports that for certain vaccinations like the MMR vaccine. California ranks above the national average with more than 96 percent of the population receiving the MMR vaccine.

Dr. Sepulveda said it's necessary for trends like that to continue as soon as a reliable COVID-19 vaccine is available.

"There is still fear of a second wave taking place in the fall," he said. "And this virus will not go away."

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