Look at Bay Area ZIP codes receiving extra vaccines under state's new equity plan

Saturday, March 6, 2021
Look at Bay Area ZIP codes receiving extra vaccines
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There are exactly three zip codes on the state's list in Alameda County, all of them in East Oakland. By targeting the areas most impacted by the pandemic, state officials hope to slow the spread of COVID19 and speed up the reopening of the economy.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Vaccine equity has been one of the focal points of the rollout. In short, it is the state's attempt to reach the most vulnerable populations and underserved neighborhoods.

It works off zip codes to determine who should receive priority and then narrow it down to who has the highest risk of getting infected.

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In the East Bay, three zip codes in Oakland rank among the highest in the state when it comes to rates of COVID-19.

Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood is the heart of the 94601 ZIP code, one of the dozens the state has identified to receive 40% of California's available supply of COVID vaccine.

"Everything we can get today is extremely helpful," said Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo. "This is an area where emergencies occur daily when it comes to public health. Not only do we have the virus issue, but before that we were trying to deal with the lead in the paint, lead in the water."

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Fruitvale has had among the highest infection rates in the country, more than 4,000 positive cases per 100,000 people, twice as high as the rest of Oakland.

"This is where the highest positive rate happened during the pandemic," explained Teena Benitez, a vaccine clinic coordinator for La Clinica. "This community has been severely impacted and we're trying to resolve the disparities we see within the community."

Juan Rodriguez was among those getting his first dose of the Moderna vaccine at a LaClinica site set up at the Ascend Charter School.

"It's important that we all get vaccinated so that we can end this pandemic," said Rodriguez, speaking in Spanish.

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So far, supply has not been an issue for La Clinica, but knowing that the stream of vaccines coming in from the state will be robust is a huge relief.

The second part of the equation involves getting residents to trust the system enough to come in and get their shots.

"I have heard of people being afraid to come to different vaccination clinics because they're afraid of being asked for ID or being asked for immigration status," said Yvette Rodriguez, a nursing student who just received her first dose of the vaccine. "They do not ask for immigration status whatsoever."

As important as the vaccine is, La Clinica wants people to know that getting tested is also a vital component of keeping the community safe. That's why La Clinica is offering free COVID testing five days a week in a parking lot adjacent to the vaccine clinic.

The end goal is to finally provide access and equity to a community that has suffered so greatly from COVID-19.

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