Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state will open two more mass vaccination sites located at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum and California State University campus in East Los Angeles. The chosen locations for the new sites represent the state’s efforts to prioritize vaccines for populations most vulnerable to Covid-19.
Both sites are located in predominantly low-income urban areas with high Black and Hispanic populations. These groups not only account for many of the high-risk jobs in food service, factories, warehouses, and healthcare but also disproportionately suffer from chronic pre-existing conditions and inadequate access to healthcare. Additionally, a recent study found that despite the availability of vaccines for priority groups, Black and Hispanic nursing home residents and medical workers received a smaller proportion of shots than their statistical representation.
The two new sites are the first to be established in partnership with the federal government and will be staffed and equipped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Vaccine hesitancy among marginalized communities is one challenge these sites will have to overcome, but making vaccination points accessible and localized is a good step towards encouraging vaccine confidence.
In a press conference at the Coliseum, Governor Newsom stated, “Equity is the call of this moment. The reason this site was chosen was the framework of making sure that communities that are often left behind are not left behind.”
Each site is expected to open on February 16 and administer several thousand shots per day. According to Newsom, these sites are the first of over 100 to be established in communities of color across California. These sites add to the list of current mass vaccination sites in the state at Disneyland, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Cal Expo in Sacramento, and Petco Park in San Diego.