Community leaders react to Newsom’s vaccine equity plan

Coronavirus

STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) – Gov. Gavin Newsom is hoping a more equitable approach will increase COVID-19 vaccinations among the hardest hit communities, saying 46% of the state’s deaths and 53% of the state’s infections came from the Latino community.

With spring just weeks away, farmworkers are gearing up for the upcoming harvest season.

“They are producers, and they are isolated. They make transportation to the fields in big vans, big groups, without masks in the fields, sometimes don’t have water to wash their hands,” explained Luis Magana, an advocate for farmworkers to be a priority for COVID-19 vaccinations. “The season for the crop is just, is coming.”

The governor’s announcement Thursday brings more focus and better access to vaccines to this vulnerable community.

Magana says that while this is good news, this should have been the approach all along. 

“It’s late because they started with white people and not with the vulnerable communities,” Magana told FOX40.

“While we would have liked to see this sooner, we’re just glad that he’s made it a priority,” said Jose Rodriguez, president and CEO of El Concilio, an organization working to raise awareness about the vaccine in the Hispanic community. “We’re going to have to go out to these folks, knock on their doors as the governor said, and make this a door-to-door campaign.”

Both community leaders say there needs to be better outreach to overcome language barriers and rumors to get more people vaccinated. 

“One of the things we’re going to be doing, is going to the areas where you find these folks, instead of setting up the clinics and expecting them to come in,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to be going with mobile clinics out to them where they’re located because it’s really hard to expect these folks to take half a day’s time off from work and go stand in line to get the vaccine.”

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