South Los Angeles churches become COVID-19 vaccination sites

In an effort to get more Los Angeles residents vaccinated in high-risk areas, churches across South Los Angeles have become vaccination sites. 

The California Department of Public Health announced it is launching a multi-million dollar campaign to residents in high-risk areas to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price is also partnering with the St. John’s Well Child and Family Center to bring vaccines to Black churches across South Los Angeles.

The community efforts seem to be working. 

Councilman Price's office said nearly 60,000 doses have been distributed due to the vaccine site at USC combined with the mobile clinics at parks across the district. 

Southern California Vaccine Finder: Where to get your COVID-19 shot

On Thursday, Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin revealed that the South LA neighborhoods of Vermont Vista and University were had the lowest percentage of vaccinated residents, each with about 6% of its residents being fully vaccinated. This compared to LA's wealthier neighborhoods such as Bell Air and Cheviot Hills where more than 34% of its residents were fully vaccinated.

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The South LA area has been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic with nearly 70,000 positive COVID-19 cases and more than 1,000 deaths in District 9, officials said. 

"It was crucial that we bring the vaccine directly into our South LA neighborhoods via trusted healthcare providers, pop-ups, large vaccination sites like USC and now churches," said Price in a statement. "I was an early proponent of taking the vaccine and when my turn came, I was ready and willing to do it. We are beginning to see the light of what was once a very dark tunnel, but our communities won’t be completely safe until everyone gets their shot."

The statewide "Let’s Get to ImmUnity," also aims to reassurance residents the vaccines are safe, effective and "our greatest tool to end the pandemic."

"Data shows that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts Black and African American communities in terms of severity, mortality, and economics. These communities are also being vaccinated at disproportionately low rates," said Tomás Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. "We designed this campaign to speak to the understandable, culturally-specific concerns and questions surrounding the vaccine of Black and African American communities."

The campaign also aims to do the following: 

  •  Increase the state's vaccine supply allocated to the lowest 25% of ZIP codes based on the Public Health Alliance of Southern California's HPI, and reserving appointments for priority populations through My Turn.
  •  Create a Statewide Vaccine Network with a Third Party Administrator (TPA) to include appropriate access in disproportionately impacted communities and supplements this access with evening/extended hours, transportation services, translation services, home-bound services, mobile vaccine services, and physical accessibility features at vaccination events, for example.
  •  Leverage the work Community Based Organizations (CBOs) have been doing to provide critical services and information to Californians during the pandemic.
  •  Establish the My Turn vaccine appointment and eligibility notification platform as a cornerstone of the state's vaccine data analytics efforts to understand the demographics of vaccine recipients.

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