Yolo County vaccine distribution extended to frontline workers

Yolo County vaccine distribution extended to frontline workers

Photo Credits: Christian Emmer / Flickr.

The expansion ramps up efforts to vaccinate BIPOC residents in Yolo County

As of Feb. 15, Yolo County has expanded its COVID-19 vaccination efforts to include frontline workers. This expansion will include individuals who work in childcare, education, emergency services and the food and agriculture industry. Eligible individuals can register on the county’s vaccine page or by calling 2-1-1. 

Yolo County Public Information Officer Jenny Tan explained that expanding vaccination coverage to frontline workers makes vaccines available to a greater number of nonwhite residents. 

“Now that this county has expanded to frontline workers in education, food and agriculture, childcare and emergency services, we should definitely see an uptick of non-white indiduals getting vaccinated,” Tan said via email. “For example, we have around 7,000-8,000 agricultural workers in Yolo County who are predominantly Hispanic.” 

In order to ensure vaccine accessibility, Tan explained that in addition to offering private clinics, Yolo County has been making advertisements about vaccines in Spanish and Russian. 

“We have Spanish radio and digital advertisements, Russian radio and Facebook advertisements, billboards, and [have] even sent postcards in English and Spanish to our Knights Landing area,” Tan said via email. “We’ve vaccinated around 1,000 of our agricultural workers so far and we’re making sure to rotate between cities and areas.” 

Tan explained that frontline workers are especially important as they provide essential services for Yolo County residents. 

“They are the ones ensuring we have food on the table, responding to emergency needs and teaching our children,” Tan said via email. “Our agriculture industry is especially important as our county has deep roots in agriculture and farming.” 

Although the expansion of vaccine coverage to individuals in these crucial sectors will increase the number of vaccinated individuals in Yolo County, individual fears about the safety of the vaccine pose a threat to eventually reaching herd immunity. 

Brad Pollock, a professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine, Arline Miller Rolkin Chair in Public Health Science and associate dean for Public Health Sciences at UC Davis, leads the UC Davis Public Health Sciences department. He explained the importance of confronting misinformation surrounding the vaccine. 

“Vaccine hesitancy is a real concern in trying to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pollock said via email. “There is a lot of misinformation out there. As more and more individuals get safely vaccinated (by the millions) it is possible that some of the fear may abate, but it is important to get as many individuals vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

Pollock explained that residents who have yet to receive the vaccine can help the vaccine rollout by continuing to practice preventative measures. 

“Remain vigilant and practice all of the known public health preventive measures  including wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, practicing good hygiene and getting tested on a frequent basis,” Pollock said via email. “These are good practices to keep even after you get vaccinated.” 

Associate Superintendent of Support Services for the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) Laura Juanitas explained that the Yolo County vaccine distribution expansion is a step forward in the DJUSD’s plans for reopening. 

“We know that preschool to grade 12 are important years in a student’s education,” Juanitas said. “We’ve been doing a very good job with distance learning, but we know how valuable in-person learning is. We want to [return] in a safe way.”

Juanitas further explained that vaccines and a return to in-person learning is beneficial for both school staff and parents. 

“We’ve seen through the course of the pandemic that age is a factor in how ill people can get, so it’s important to keep our school staff as safe as possible,” Juanitas said. “It also benefits the economy when the schools are open. Not everyone can work from home. This has been a hard year for many families.”

Juanitas explained that reopening schools is a top priority for DJUSD at this time. 

“Just like parents and students, we want to reopen as soon as possible and as soon as it’s safe and we can get all the adults vaccinated,” Juanitas said. “That way, we can get the kids back in school.” 

Written by: Yan Yan Hustis Hayes — city@theaggie.org