California's vaccine equity plan welcome news for communities hard hit by virus

Carlos Dennis, Ron DeSantis, Javier Crespo
Posted at 4:33 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 19:48:07-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — California's new plan to set aside 40% of available vaccines for those living in certain zip codes was welcome news to groups who've been trying to get more at-risk people vaccinated.

Ricardo Alcantar, with the Chicano Federation, says the Latino population in San Diego was one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, but the vaccination rate has remained low.

"We're very hopeful this will bring equity to vaccine distribution and allow our communities to have access to the vaccine," said Alcantar. "After the first couple of weeks vaccinations, only about 14% of the vaccinations administered were going to the Latino community."

RELATED: California to ease tier guidelines for counties based on vaccine equity

According to the plan, people living in about a dozen zip codes in San Diego County would be eligible for the designated vaccines. Those areas are the ones that have low scores in the state's Healthy Places Index.

It takes into account things like employment, access to health care, and education.

"Dedicated vaccines and the technology to make the MyTurn system work in those areas to not only move fast but move fair," Alcantar says.

The system is based on zip code, and although Alcantar says they've already seen some instances of people trying to get vaccinated in areas outside of where they live, moving forward they'll try to ensure the doses set aside go to those they're intended for.

"Now we really have to implement those safeguards and ensure the people in those zip codes have access to the vaccine," he said.

But he also says there's a fine line to walk.

"You also don't want to ask for too much info that might make some folks uncomfortable particularly folks who are undocumented or have a mixed-status family," said Alcantar.