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California Enhances Vaccine Equity with New Initiatives, Local Funding

More than 30 million vaccines have been administered in California

California is undertaking a series of initiatives designed to increase vaccinations in areas of the state hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and to address vaccine hesitancy in those communities. These include allocating an additional $33 million to support community-based organizations conducting local outreach and education efforts, and $34.2 million to help local health jurisdictions enhance vaccination efforts in communities disproportionately impacted by the virus.

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As the state continues to be a national leader in vaccinations with more than 30 million doses given, Gov. Gavin Newsom today outlined seven new and enhanced equity strategies in the state’s vaccine rollout in a news release. They include a “Get Out the Vaccine” campaign in conjunction with 70 community-based organizations to make calls and door-to-door visits to reach unvaccinated populations. At-home vaccination efforts will be increased and appointment can be scheduled through My Turn online or by calling the state’s CA COVID-19 hotline at (833) 422-4255. The state also will provide free transportation to vaccination sites for those without cars or other ways to get to a site.

Each of the state’s 61 local health jurisdictions, in partnership with Blue Shield of California as the state’s third-party administrator (TPA), also has submitted an equity plan to promote increased vaccinations in communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The additional funding for local health jurisdictions will provide more resources for them to increase vaccine distribution to underserved and high-risk communities.

More promotion coming from former governors

To support the efforts to get more Californians to schedule an appointment, the state is releasing a PSA featuring Newsom and three former governors: Jerry Brown, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson. To provide additional transparency as local efforts bear fruit, the state also will publish a map each week showing equity data at a ZIP-code level, in line with its goal on transparency.

These initiatives bolster the strong efforts on equity for vulnerable Californians who have been made by state and local health officials with the support of the third-party administrator that is managing the state’s enhanced vaccination provider network. So far, nearly half of eligible California residents in the lowest Healthy Places Index (HPI) quartile have received vaccinations. To reach additional people, the state will reduce its focus on mass vaccination sites, such as those at sports stadiums, and instead establish smaller and targeted clinics in partnership with schools, businesses and places of worship.