Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, channeling his instincts as an organizer, launched a community-based effort to get South Los Angeles residents that are 65 and older vaccinated as quickly as possible. Harris-Dawson and his staff personally called nearly 1,000 seniors who had participated in the Emergency Senior Meals program that provided over 50,000 meals to seniors during the pandemic’s onset. This time, the councilmember was calling to connect them to local vaccines rather than free meals prepared by local restaurants. Despite the different goal, the team had incredible success calling residents 65 and older. Over 2,000 seniors and healthcare workers received vaccines at local sites across South Los Angeles as a result.
“In a time of so much social isolation, my team and I were excited to pick up the phone and have conversations with the elders we built relationships with during the meals program,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson. “These calls provide an opportunity for us to check in on our seniors and allow them to interact with a real person rather than a piece of technology. I will continue to do all that I can to ensure seniors in our communities are informed during every step of this pandemic, and that communities who are the hardest hit during this pandemic can receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.”
In L.A. County, more than 1 million residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. According to a new state report that provides a snapshot of vaccine distribution, White Californians so far have received 32.7% of the first available doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 16% for Latinos, 13% for Asians, 2.9% for Black people and 0.3% for Native American populations. Health officials contribute this shockingly low percentage of Black residents receiving the vaccine to lack of accessibility. The councilmember’s efforts to ensure local residents and their loved ones can get vaccinated quickly and efficiently has led to over 2,000 seniors receiving the vaccine with 90% identifying as either Black or Latino. His office will continue this effort to ensure every resident in South Los Angeles is able to access the vaccination.
Mobile pop-up sites at different locations throughout the district were activated to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines. Councilmember Harris-Dawson’s team will continue to launch new sites every week and work with community-based organizations, senior homes and local churches to ensure residents in South Los Angeles are aware of the vaccination sites. The office is also working to address transportation concerns that may prevent others from accessing vaccination sites. Additional sites will be activated in the coming weeks, and the possibility of door-to-door vaccine distribution will be explored. Vaccination sites will rotate weekly and allow residents to receive both doses of the vaccine at the same location.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit mhdcd8.com/covid-19-vaccines/.
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