COVID-19 vaccines

South Bay Leading the Way in COVID Vaccinations

Latinos in San Diego County, especially in the South Bay, are leading the charge with innovations like expanding 211 access for those people with technology and language barriers, and adding neighborhood sites to bring the vaccines closer to people’s homes

The coronavirus pandemic hit the South Bay area of San Diego County harder than most other places, but that same area is now having great success when it comes to vaccinations.

County officials say 72% of the people living in that area have had at least one dose of the vaccine. The average for San Diego County is just under 59%.

It’s a success story, according to San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas, who represents the area.

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“I really credit the fact that we were able to get Latinos engaged and ready to vaccinate to the fact that we created some really great interventions [and] were able to make sure we removed the barriers that were impacting our communities,” Vargas said.

Those interventions included expanding 211 access for those people with technology and language barriers, and adding neighborhood sites to bring the vaccines closer to people’s homes. 

“Think about the fact that two of the hardest-hit communities that are majority Latino, like San Ysidro and Nestor,” Vargas said. “Those ZIP codes, 92713 and 92154, were some of the hardest-hit communities, and yet now they are the ones that have actual numbers [of people who are vaccinated] that are higher.”

Walk-in sites and mobile vaccination sites are now replacing vaccination super stations and making access much easier for everyone.

Vargas said the South Bay’s recipe for success is being duplicated in other areas of the county, especially those in underserved areas like Escondido, where vaccination rates are on the rise, according to Vargas.

“In North Inland, the Escondido area, 34.4% of Latinos have been vaccinated who are 12 or older, so I think the numbers are shifting,” Vargas said.

“If someone wants to get a vaccine, we’re gonna make sure they get their vaccine,” Vargas said.

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