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Bay Area efforts to ensure vaccine equity

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Communities of color have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic but what’s being done to make sure that the population doesn’t get left behind as the massive vaccine rollout continues?

The city of San Francisco says they chose the locations of their mass vaccination sites, especially the one already underway at City College and another coming to the city’s Produce Mart in the Bayview because the southeast sector of the city has been hardest hit by COVID.

“We’re also working to bring vaccines into the community most impacted by COVID with community clinics and mobile vaccination teams,” Mayor London Breed said.

At the state level, Dr. Mark Ghaly with California Health and Human Services says equity is the focus of their vaccine rollout by making sure vaccines will be allocated to low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. 

Providers will also be compensated in part by how well they are able to reach under-served communities.

“Equity is a focus but yes speed and safety are very important but making sure communities that have been deeply impacted, scarred by COVID that those with active outbreaks and great levels of transmission are prioritized for vaccines,” Dr. Ghaly said.

During a KRONon interview, Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee said in the recently passed COVID relief package.

There is a $300 million appropriation for communities of color and vaccine distribution as well as 2.5 billion for testing contract tracing and health care. 

Some of the money will go towards to convincing people to get these lifesaving shots.

“Given the history as an African-American woman experiments that have been done on Black people throughout centuries in this country, we have reluctance naturally to trust the government, so we have to make sure we have those trusted messages at the local level to deliver these messages about the efficacy and the effectiveness of the vaccines,” Lee said.

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