CA hasnt released COVID-19 vaccination data by demographics. CDC says this information is critical – KCRA Sacramento

County health officials are calling out the state of California for focusing too much on the speed of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and overlooking where distribution falls short.”Its emphasis on speed has the potential to benefit the privileged more than the underserved,” Dr. Aimee Sisson, Health Officer for Yolo County Health Department, testified during a legislative hearing on Wednesday.One of California’s hardest-hit areas during the coronavirus pandemic is Los Angeles County.Dr. Paul Simon, Chief Science Officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said health officials are aware that people in underserved communities are not getting vaccinated at the same rate as those in affluent white communities, but adds officials are struggling to understand how large the gap is, and pointed to state data that is incomplete, inaccurate, and non-existent.”An initial analysis of the registry data we did this week indicated that Latino and Black residents are significantly underrepresented among those who have been vaccinated so far in our county,” said Simon. “These early results are extremely alarming and indicate that we need to make it much easier for Black and Latino residents and workers to be vaccinated.”As COVID-19 has spread through the Black, brown, and Native American communities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said tracking the number of people vaccinated in those communities is critical.For weeks, KCRA 3 Investigates has asked for this information from the state health department. We’ve put in Public Information Requests dating back to Jan. 21.KCRA 3 is not the only entity that wants this information.”There’s a great interest in understanding what the landscape looks like here and we are struggling with the data,” Dr. Simon said.While California hasn’t released data regarding demographics, other states have.According to the CDC, during the first month of the U.S. Vaccination Program, of the nearly 13 million persons who received at least one dose of a vaccine, 60% were white, 11% Hispanic, 6% Asian, 5% Black, and 2% were Native American.”Why aren’t more Black, brown, and Native American people getting vaccinated?” KCRA 3’s Brittany Johnson asked Dr. Anthony Harris, Chief Innovation Officer and Associate Medical Director for WorkCare.He said access is part of the problem.”Many in these communities don’t have adequate transportation to even get to a location to access the vaccine if it’s not within walking distance,” Harris replied.He said trust could be another factor and recommends the state reach out to trusted members of various communities.”Leveraging churches that we know exist in many of these communities, and they have some infrastructure to leverage and distribute the vaccine. I’ve seen it work well in Central Florida with that partnership between hospitals and churches.”There’s also an issue of immigration status. Yolo County said it’s seeing “where undocumented communities may be nervous about making appointments in advance.””What we’ve done in Yolo County is setting aside doses for people who don’t have an appointment so that they can walk in and they don’t have to give information to the government in advance,” Dr. Sisson said.

County health officials are calling out the state of California for focusing too much on the speed of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and overlooking where distribution falls short.

“Its emphasis on speed has the potential to benefit the privileged more than the underserved,” Dr. Aimee Sisson, Health Officer for Yolo County Health Department, testified during a legislative hearing on Wednesday.

One of California’s hardest-hit areas during the coronavirus pandemic is Los Angeles County.

Dr. Paul Simon, Chief Science Officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said health officials are aware that people in underserved communities are not getting vaccinated at the same rate as those in affluent white communities, but adds officials are struggling to understand how large the gap is, and pointed to state data that is incomplete, inaccurate, and non-existent.

“An initial analysis of the registry data we did this week indicated that Latino and Black residents are significantly underrepresented among those who have been vaccinated so far in our county,” said Simon. “These early results are extremely alarming and indicate that we need to make it much easier for Black and Latino residents and workers to be vaccinated.”

As COVID-19 has spread through the Black, brown, and Native American communities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said tracking the number of people vaccinated in those communities is critical.

For weeks, KCRA 3 Investigates has asked for this information from the state health department. We’ve put in Public Information Requests dating back to Jan. 21.

KCRA 3 is not the only entity that wants this information.

“There’s a great interest in understanding what the landscape looks like here and we are struggling with the data,” Dr. Simon said.

While California hasn’t released data regarding demographics, other states have.

According to the CDC, during the first month of the U.S. Vaccination Program, of the nearly 13 million persons who received at least one dose of a vaccine, 60% were white, 11% Hispanic, 6% Asian, 5% Black, and 2% were Native American.

“Why aren’t more Black, brown, and Native American people getting vaccinated?” KCRA 3’s Brittany Johnson asked Dr. Anthony Harris, Chief Innovation Officer and Associate Medical Director for WorkCare.

He said access is part of the problem.

“Many in these communities don’t have adequate transportation to even get to a location to access the vaccine if it’s not within walking distance,” Harris replied.

He said trust could be another factor and recommends the state reach out to trusted members of various communities.

“Leveraging churches that we know exist in many of these communities, and they have some infrastructure to leverage and distribute the vaccine. I’ve seen it work well in Central Florida with that partnership between hospitals and churches.”

There’s also an issue of immigration status. Yolo County said it’s seeing “where undocumented communities may be nervous about making appointments in advance.”

“What we’ve done in Yolo County is setting aside doses for people who don’t have an appointment so that they can walk in and they don’t have to give information to the government in advance,” Dr. Sisson said.