'Don't overlook us': Blacks have received only 3% of vaccine doses in California

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ByLuz Pena via KGO logo
Monday, March 22, 2021
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There are more than 2 million Black residents in California yet they received only 3% of the doses in the state. Now, a UCSF doctor is taking matters into his own hands.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California continues to ramp up its vaccination efforts, but when it comes to vaccine equity it's falling short, according to the latest data. There are more than 2 million Black residents in California, yet they received only 3% of the doses in the state, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Today Governor Newsom highlighted California's "record-breaking" week pointing to "Nearly 1 million vaccines administered in 48 hours" and over 14 million doses administered so far.

RELATED: Here's when Newsom says all Californians can access COVID-19 vaccine

Big numbers, but when we look closer at the data we see a daunting picture pointing to the state's vaccine inequity.

"We are more likely to be infected but also 3 times more likely to die of the virus when we are infected," said Dr. Malcom John, UCSF's Infectious Disease Specialist.

According to the U.S Census Bureau, there are over 2 million Black residents in California, yet the state's Dept. of Public Health shows they have received only 3% of the vaccine doses in the state.

VIDEO: CA among the worst states on COVID-19 vaccine equity, according to CDC

UCSF's Dr. Malcom John took matters into his own hands to help his community.

Dr. John, along with the San Francisco African American Faith-Based Coalition and Walgreens, opened a vaccination clinic at the Third Baptist Church.

"This is a critical part of our journey, and efforts to increase equity in vaccinations. I think of other states; like West Virginia who did an incredible job rolling out their vaccinations becoming hyper-local and working with local pharmacies," said Dr. John.

In the past week, they've vaccinated close to 500 people in two church locations.

VACCINE TRACKER: Here's how CA is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

"Actually saving our lives. This is exactly the message that we are trying to send. Bring the vaccine to the community. Let the church, let the community actually do the work," said Jonathan Butler, Executive Dir. SF African American Faith-Based Coalition.

Rev. Brown is now urging city officials to expand and support this effort.

"We are saying to the politicians don't overlook us this go-round. Our people are coming to this site because they trust the church," said Rev. Amos Brown, Pastor of San Francisco's Third Baptist Church.

In early March, Governor Newsom changed the state's distribution strategy, allocating 40% of all vaccine doses to zip codes in the most vulnerable areas of the state.

Last week, Gov. Newsom announced the tiered eligibility system is expected to end in five weeks, and vaccines will be available for all Californians.

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