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February 9, 2021

Barragán and Colleagues Ask California and L.A. County to Provide Zip Code, Race/Ethnicity, Age & Occupation Data for Vaccine Rollout

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      

February 9, 2021

 

 

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – Today, in an effort to increase equity in the distribution of COVID vaccines, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán and five colleagues in the Los Angeles congressional delegation asked for state and county data on the zip codes, race/ethnicity, age, and occupation of those who have received the vaccine during the initial phases of the rollout.

 

Congresswoman Barragán was joined by Congressmembers Karen Bass, Ted Lieu, Alan Lowenthal, Judy Chu and Grace F. Napolitano on a letter to California Health & Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly and L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

 

In the letter delivered today, Barragán, Bass, Lieu, Lowenthal, Chu and Napolitano wrote, “While our hardworking healthcare professionals stand ready to help vaccinate our community, we encourage you to develop a plan to ensure that our most susceptible populations become a priority. Even over the short time period that adults 65 and over have become eligible for the vaccine, we are concerned to already see enormous disparities, trending along racial lines, on who is receiving these limited vaccine appointments. …

 

“Given Governor Newsom’s expressed intent to amplify the rate of vaccinations statewide and L.A. County’s initial intent to distribute vaccinations to the most impacted zip codes, we are respectfully requesting data to reflect these intentions. We would like to request data from your agencies which will include but not be limited to race/ethnicity, age, and occupation of those who have received the vaccine during the initial phases of the rollout.”

 

Barragán had previously written letters on vaccine equity to President Joe Biden and Governor Gavin Newsom.

 

A PDF of today’s letter can be found here and full text is below:

 

 

February 9, 2021

 

Mark Ghaly, MD, MPH                                          Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd

Secretary, California Health & Human          Director, LA County Department of Public Health

Services Agency                                                      Office of Communications and Public Affairs

1600 Ninth Street, Room 460                         313 N. Figueroa Street, Room 806

Sacramento, CA 95814                                        Los Angeles, CA 90012

 

Dear Secretary Ghaly and Director Ferrer:

 

We write to you with great concern regarding the recent rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in the communities we represent. Before the pandemic began, historically underserved communities were already facing worse health outcomes than other Californians. Then, when COVID-19 swept through L.A. County and our nation, we immediately learned that Black and Latino communities were being infected with COVID-19 at higher rates than other communities and that COVID-19 was more lethal within communities of color.

 

While our hardworking healthcare professionals stand ready to help vaccinate our community, we encourage you to develop a plan to ensure that our most susceptible populations become a priority. Even over the short time period that adults 65 and over have become eligible for the vaccine, we are concerned to already see enormous disparities, trending along racial lines, on who is receiving these limited vaccine appointments. There also need to be more vaccination sites available on the weekends and after work hours to help essential workers and eligible people access the vaccines who are trying to support and take care of their families.

 

First, there were clearly inequities in access to testing, as COVID testing was not widely available in Black, Latino, Native Hawaiian, Asian American and Pacific Islanders communities in our districts. According to Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science data, collected from a temporary testing site in the Watts-Willowbrook community showed that more than 30 percent of the nearly 30,000 residents tested did not have a primary care medical home – the places where they would be likely to both get tested and receive the vaccines.

 

In South Los Angeles, 17.8 percent of residents don’t have health insurance, and 32.5 percent report difficulty accessing medical care. Many of these residents rely on their community health centers for medical services – clinics which have not yet received vaccinations for their most vulnerable patients. Without immediate action addressing systemic barriers to vaccines, we will continue to witness adverse health outcomes and deaths related to COVID-19 infection.

 

Given Governor Newsom’s expressed intent to amplify the rate of vaccinations statewide and L.A. County’s initial intent to distribute vaccinations to the most impacted zip codes, we are respectfully requesting data to reflect these intentions. We would like to request data from your agencies which will include but not be limited to race/ethnicity, age, and occupation of those who have received the vaccine during the initial phases of the rollout.

 

We look forward to continuing to work with you to address this important issue.

 

Sincerely,

/s/ Nanette Diaz Barragán                                                     /s/ Karen Bass
Member of Congress                                                                 Member of Congress

/s/ Ted Lieu                                                                           /s/ Alan Lowenthal
Member of Congress                                                                 Member of Congress

/s/ Judy Chu                                                                          /s/ Grace F. Napolitano
Member of Congress                                                                 Member of Congress

 

 

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Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington