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COVID vaccine: Contra Costa County focuses on Latinx community

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — The Contra Costa County Public Health Departments says it is addressing equity by adding pop-up vaccination and testing sites in the hardest hit areas.

The darkest areas of this map show the portions in Contra Costa County hit hardest by COVID-19.

They are located in lowest quartile of the healthy places index, where case numbers and test positivity rates are disproportionately high.

“We are focused on communities in west county, east county and central county,” Chief Equity Officer Gilbert Salinas said.

In order: Richmond, Antioch, Concord, Pittsburg and San Pablo have the highest number of positive cases.

And in all of those cities except San Pablo, less than 20-percent of the population has received the first dose of the vaccine. And, in all five cities, less than 10-percent of the population has received a second dose.

By comparison, the county’s most affluent communities report a higher percentage of vaccinations.

In Walnut Creek, for example, more than 40-percent of the population has received it’s first dose, and more than 21-percent are fully vaccinated.

“We have the infrastructure to deliver 75,000 vaccine doses per week,” Salinas said.

But due to a lack of supply, Salinas says the county is vaccinating the public at a slow rate than it wants — despite reaching more than 343,000 administered shots.

County data shows nearly 33,000 people are being inoculated per week.

With help from the federal government, health services is expecting rapid increase in access to vaccines in the coming weeks.

And, it is awaiting word from the governor’s office on how to distribute them to disadvantaged communities, now that Governor Newsom announced equity is a priority.

“The announcement the governor made earlier, we’re still waiting on direction and process and information. so, once we get clear on some of that, we’ll have a better response,” Salinas said.

For now, the county will focus on increasing mobile and pop-up vaccination and testing sites, targeting the Latinx community in particular.

Just 13-percent of that population has been vaccinated — compared to 22-percent of non-Hispanic or Latino people.

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