California has made great strides in its effort to vaccinate residents against COVID-19, but the next phase will require additional help, according to Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, California's surgeon general.
Burke Harris, in an op-ed published May 17 in CalMatters, called on community leaders to influence vaccine holdouts. Blue Shield of California is acting as the third-party administrator for the state, helping to ensure equitable distribution.
Today, everyone age 12 and over is eligible for vaccination – an estimated 2.1 million newly eligible individuals. Clearly, as millions more become eligible, there are steps we must take to ensure we continue to reach the hardest hit communities as effectively and efficiently as possible.
First, we must provide access and support to make it easy to reach Californian’s who are disproportionately affected by this disease. That could include transportation assistance, extended hours, language support and resources to reach homebound and unhoused Californians. Second, we must come together as a community to build trust in these life-saving vaccines so that as many Californians as possible will choose to become vaccinated.
Across California, those in positions of trust – clergy and teachers, neighbors and friends, business leaders and co-workers – should urge all those around them to learn the facts about the coronavirus vaccines. They have been proven, first in large clinical trials, and now in the broader population. They are safe. They are effective. It’s clear that the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risk of side effects.
Read the full op-ed here.