Gov. Newsom in Oakland, pushing for higher vaccination rate

Gov. Gavin Newsom talks about vaccination rates at La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland. Aug. 31, 2021

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday was in Oakland at La Clinica de la Raza, highlighting the state’s ongoing efforts to encourage more Californians to get vaccinated.

Newsom credited the statewide vaccination rate, where 80% of those eligible have had one dose of the vaccine, but he said more needs to be done. 

"We continue to be mindful of our responsibility to do more and do better, particularly for diverse communities," he said. "We still have work to do in the Latino community, the African-American community."

There are many who still don't trust the government, can't easily take time off from work and still lack accessibility to vaccination sites. 

Despite that, Newsom said he feels a responsibility to reach out to all those who are on the fence. He said he has a team of people working every day, to battle disinformation and to help community organizations knock on doors and set up mobile vaccination sites.

"These lifesaving vaccines that are not only effective, but are truly the answer to how we get this pandemic once and for all behind us," he said. 

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf joined Newsom at the medical clinic in the city's Fruitvale district, touting its work. And she didn't mince words about who is dying from coronavirus. 

"In this past year, nearly every death from COVID-19 has been someone who was not vaccinated," Schaff said. "And it is community-based efforts like this one, led by La Clinica de la Raza that has been doing the trusted health work in this community for years and years that we have to be grateful for. It is these community efforts that has led Oakland to achieve 86% of our eligible population, having received their first vaccination." 

Despite the numbers, Schaaf said Oakland isn't stopping there. 

This week, Oakland joined many cities in requiring vaccination as a condition of employment unless people have a religious or medical exemption. City workers have until Oct. 15 to provide proof of vaccination and until Nov. 1 to be in compliance with the policy. 

"Now, we will be meeting with our labor leaders to confer over the impacts of this policy," Schaaf said. "But this policy is official."