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Davis, California

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Woodland Memorial Hospital vaccinates vulnerable populations in Yolo County against COVID-19

Various other services are available for underserved populations in Yolo County, including relief funds and veterinary services

As various Yolo County clinics and healthcare providers continue vaccinating people who fall under stages 1A and 1B of the vaccine distribution plan, Dignity Health Woodland Memorial has partnered with Yolo County to vaccinate underserved populations.

Chief Nurse Executive and Chief Operating Officer of Woodland Memorial Hospital Gena Bravo explained via email that the hospital has been setting up vaccine clinics at “familiar and convenient locations” to immunize thousands of vulnerable residents against COVID-19, whether they’re migrant farm workers, undergoing homelessness or are from low-income neighbourhoods. 

“Each vaccine clinic is staffed by Woodland Memorial Hospital leaders and in some instances they will be joined by Woodland Clinic Medical Group physicians—all volunteering their time for this important endeavor,” Bravo said. 

Yolo County Public Information Officer Jenny Tan explained via email that vaccinating underserved populations shows members of these communities that they are being considered. Smaller areas or communities have also had postcards mailed to them and door-to-door visits, allowing Yolo County to answer any questions and focus on communication with these communities.

Tan also explained that communicating information through a broad variety of media is important to ensure that underserved populations have the same access to resources as others.

“It’s about finding out where people get their information,” Tan said. “Everyone is different. Some people get information from ethnic news media, others from radio, others from social media or the newspaper. For some, it may be even harder and have to be by word of mouth or phone calls. It’s important that we all take the time to learn which communication channels people use and invest the time, energy and money into them.”

In addition to the vaccine clinics, there are various other services available for vulnerable populations in Yolo County, many of which are continuing to operate during the pandemic. 

One example is the COVID-19 Local Relief Fund, which was created by the United Way California Capital Region for the five counties it serves in April 2020. It partners with local nonprofits to help low-income households weather the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. 

President and CEO of United Way California Capital Region Stephanie McLemore Bray explained via email that the fund has helped many families, and gifts to the fund have allowed crises to be averted for the community and these families.

“In Yolo County, we partnered with Yolo County Children’s Alliance, Rural Innovations Social Economics (RISE) and Empower Yolo to identify and qualify low-income families experiencing an increased financial hardship due to unpaid leave due to isolation, care of a vulnerable or infected relative, loss of wages due to involuntary cancellation of work, or unpaid leave of absence due to school or daycare closure,” Bray said. “One-time $500 stipends were awarded to these households.”

Through this fund, the COVID-19 Local Relief Fund gave $107,500 to 215 families in Yolo County by the summer of 2020. United Way California Capital Region is now working to help another 200 Yolo County families, aiming to assist over 400 households in Yolo County since the start of the pandemic with over $200,000. 

Another service that is available for vulnerable populations is Davis Pet Advocacy and Wellness (Davis PAW).

Rebecca Terrett, a UC Davis third-year graduate veterinary student, explained via email that Davis PAW is “a once-a-month pop-up clinic that provides veterinary access to the pets of the homeless community of Davis.”

Terrett listed the services that Davis PAW has provided for free since it started in October 2020. 

“We provide fundamental healthcare services including physical exams, vaccines, minor medical treatments, and basic diagnostics like bloodwork, and offer preventative medications such as flea, [tick] and heartworm prevention, all at no cost to our guests,” Terrett said. “After starting in October of last year, we continue to grow and most recently saw about 20 pets in February.”

Bravo noted that the pandemic has been difficult, but that Yolo County officials and the staff of local clinics have been working hard to keep residents safe and healthy. 

“It is not an easy feat but Yolo County has been an incredible partner and we also have amazing leaders at our hospital that continue to work overtime week after week for over a year since we began this fight against COVID-19 to ensure we’re able to get this done,” Bravo said. 
Written by: Shraddha Jhingan — city@theaggie.org


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