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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Community Fair Helps San Diegans Get A Shot In The Arm

UCSD volunteers administer COVID-19 vaccines at the Jackie Robinson Family YM...

Photo by Melissa Mae

Above: UCSD volunteers administer COVID-19 vaccines at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in National City on April 7, 2021.

California has administered over 4.2 million COVID-19 vaccines to some of the state’s hardest-hit communities.

Equity continues to be a focus of vaccine efforts in San Diego. The hardest-hit communities account for 40% of COVID cases and deaths even though they're just a quarter of the population, according to Healthy Places Index (HPI).

On the first Wednesday of every month, the Community Health & Resource Fair is held at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in National City. Along with many free health care resources and services, the fair has helped administer thousands of COVID-19 vaccines.

The founder of the health fair is Dr. Suzanne Afflalo.

Listen to this story by Melissa Mae.

“It’s about improving the health of our black and brown members of the southeast San Diego area,” she said. The fair serves so many that Afflalo received a request from Governor Newsom to help.

“First and foremost we’re trying to get our community vaccinated. So, we were gifted with 1,000 Johnson and Johnson vaccines that UCSD is here with the volunteers to provide for our community.”

Along with administering vaccines, events like this are educating people about getting it. Breast Cancer survivor and Founder of Many Shades of Pink, Wendy Shurelds took the vaccine advice.

“I realized that I would be unprotected, so that’s what really made me, the education and wanting to protect myself and my family,” Shurelds said.

South Bay resident Ricky Salzar was grateful to have easier access to the vaccine as well. Salzar noted, “This is fantastic for our community. We were hurt so much in our businesses. We want to get all the businesses going again.”

The California Department of Public Health is still allocating 40% of vaccines to these areas and will continue to partner with community-based programs.

The CDPH also has plans for a new program to text people in certain zip codes when vaccine appointments are available.

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