San Diego County

Are Hispanic Neighborhoods in North County Falling Behind in Race to Herd Immunity?

After NBC 7 Investigates showed county health partners the data on vaccination rates by zip code, they say they are ramping up their outreach efforts north of State Route 56

NBC Universal, Inc.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a line of people waiting to get a vaccine at the North Coastal Live Well Center in Oceanside in the mid-morning on a Thursday. In fact, it didn’t appear many folks were getting vaccines period.

“Here it’s been pretty… quiet,” says Sandra Mendoza, a special project manager for the San Diego Latino Health Coalition.

Friday morning Mendoza worked a table outside the center offering up free PPE, helping folks make vaccine appointments and answering any questions they might have – but there weren’t really many people around to ask questions

NBC 7 Investigates analyzed county data on vaccination rates by zip code.

County health workers focused a lot of attention and energy on getting shots in arms in Latinos living along the border and in the South Bay. And for a good reason – these communities comprised a lion’s share of new COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

And it appears that effort has paid off.

In 92173 in San Ysidro, where nearly 95% of residents are Latino, nearly 65% of people are vaccinated.

But it's not just down south - a lot of zip codes along the coast and up north are reporting high vaccination numbers too.

The zip code 92067 in Rancho Santa Fe is almost 78% vaccinated - on the cusp of reaching herd immunity.

Of course, this zip code is a lot whiter and more affluent than the rest of the county. The median household income is more than $174,000 and more than 88% of residents are white.

Less than 9% of Rancho Santa Fe residents are Hispanic.

Compare that with 92083 in Vista, with a median household income of less than $68,000 and where more than 60% of people are Latino – just 28% of residents have a least one dose.

“There is still a need here so I think there needs to be more focus in North County,” says Mendoza.

“We wanted to know why our community was not getting vaccinated at higher rates,” said Roberto Alcantar, Chief Strategy Officer for the Chicano Federation.

Alcantar says Latinos make up a disporportionate number of high-contact, high-risk essential jobs, jobs with odd hours that aren't conducive to a lot of the county's regular office hour vaccination efforts.

“The demand is there,” says Alcantar. “The community wants to get vaccinated. The issue is access and not really knowing where to go.”

“It’s kind of heartbreaking sometimes,” says Mendoza. “Because it’s really just giving them information so they feel confident getting them the vaccine. And it’s really something so simple that they need, that there needs to be more of.”

Just two months ago, Latinos comprised 14% of all people who received at least one dose of the vaccine. That number is up - now at 28%. It's progress, but still shy of the more than 34% of county residents Latinos represent.

The Chicano Federation and County of San Diego have resources and information on how you can get a vaccine, along with answers to frequently asked questions, click here.

Contact Us