California health department ramps up vaccine outreach program
To curtail ‘disinformation’
Merdies Hayes | 7/28/2021, 6:19 p.m.
With about 77 percent of California adults at least partially vaccinated, and more than 74 percent of those aged 12+ having received at least one dose, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is redoubling its efforts to work in partnership with local health officials and community organizations statewide to fight disinformation.
Health officials in Sacramento want to spur demand for COVID-19 vaccinations and focus on equity as some communities contend with rising levels of illness among the unvaccinated. Vaccines, they say, remain the best protection against COVID-19, including the highly infectious Delta variant.
Unvaccinated Californians are reportedly not only at much higher risk of getting COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated, they are also far more likely to suffer severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
“COVID-19 remains a very real threat to those who are unvaccinated. It is imperative that we fight the disinformation that is leading Californians to be skeptical of this life-saving tool we now have. Californians must take action to protect themselves and those in our communities who cannot get vaccinated, including children under age 12,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH director and state public health officer. “COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe, and our best tool in stopping the spread and mutation of variants.”
CDPH is continuing its focus on vaccinating the remaining population and maintaining vaccine accessibility through data-driven approaches that prioritize communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. As the communication and outreach efforts become more targeted, ZIP codes with low rates of vaccination and communities experiencing outbreaks will drive efforts through public education, provider programs and community events.
Recently, CDPH has launched a $40 million CalVaxGrant program to bring more vaccines into doctors’ offices, giving physicians financial resources to safely store and dispense COVID-19 vaccinations.
The CalVaxGrant is intended to increase access in hard to reach communities by partially reimbursing small physician practices up to $55,000 to set up their offices as small, community-based vaccination sites. The funding will help offset expenses, including staffing, training, technology, infrastructure, supplies and equipment, and administrative overhead.