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Friday, June 18, 2021

Healthy Davis Together focuses on vaccinating underserved communities

Sixty percent of those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Yolo County have received at least one dose

In the fight against COVID-19, Healthy Davis Together has been increasing its distribution of vaccines to members of the community, especially those who may be from underserved communities. 

Medical Director of Healthy Davis Together Dr. Sheri Belafsky explained that Healthy Davis Together is working with CommuniCare to provide vaccines to people without insurance or to people who have Medi-Cal.

“Healthy Davis Together has a particular focus on vulnerable populations and underserved populations in Yolo County,” Belafsky said. “To that end, we partnered with CommuniCare, which is a federally qualified health center, so they have three clinics in Yolo County and they provide healthcare to the 20 to 30 thousand people who don’t have insurance or they have Medi-Cal.” 

Healthy Davis Together has set up two vaccine clinics in Yolo County, according to Belafsky.

“We created a call center so that CommuniCare could message their patients and let them know that we have these two vaccine clinics set up in locations that were convenient for their patients,” Belafsky said. “One is in Woodland and the other one is in West Sacramento, and we have been prioritizing CommuniCare patients since we opened about two months ago. We’ve seen about 6,500 doses that we’ve administered so far and most of them—about 50 to 55%—have been to Latinx community members and the lion’s share of course have been to CommuniCare or CommuniCare-eligible patients in the county.”

On-call Yolo County Public Information Officer Frank Schneegas said that Yolo County has administered over 50,000 vaccine doses total.

“As of Wednesday, May 5, Yolo County has administered about 28,753 first doses and 22,587 second doses,” Schneegas said. “The actual number is higher—there’s usually always a lag” during the wait for data entry to be finished.

As of May 3, Schneegas said that 48% of the approximately 220,000 residents in Yolo County have received at least one dose of the vaccine, which is roughly 60% of all eligible Yolo County residents. Of this percentage, 83% of agricultural workers and 60% of those aged 65 and older have received at least one dose.

With the increase of vaccine supply and the support of CommuniCare and Yolo County, the clinics set up by Healthy Davis Together are also taking community appointments, although they’re still prioritizing CommuniCare patients, Belafsky explained. 

Belafsky described how Healthy Davis Together has been doing outreach to underserved communities. For instance, Healthy Davis Together has been collaborating with the Homeless Coordinator for Yolo County and have a mobile vaccine team that goes door-to-door in motels once a week to vaccinate people, who Belafsky said may not be aware “that the vaccines are available to them” or may not be able “to get to the clinics.”

Corner Drug, which is located in Woodland, has also been administering vaccines at its site. Co-owner of Corner Drug Erik Daniells explained how the administration of vaccines has been going “smoothly with appointments available several days a week,” although demand has leveled off.

“Now we have vaccine inventory but the demand has plummeted from what it was a month ago,” Daniells said via email. “We hope this changes once the vaccine is approved for younger people.”

Daniells also shared that all of Corner Drug’s staff is vaccinated and tries to show others that the vaccines are safe and effective.

“We are hopeful that vaccine hesitancy decreases and we can show that the vaccine is safe and effective,” Daniells said via email. “Our staff was vaccinated early and we are very relieved to be able to safely help others.”

On-campus vaccination efforts have also been going well. UC Davis Medical Director of Student Health and Counseling Services Cindy Schorzman described that at the ARC vaccine clinic, as of May 4, more than 12,500 doses have been administered. Appointments can be booked through My Turn, and up to 375 doses are delivered each day.

Students should also report their vaccine status through the Health-e-Messaging portal, Schorzman explained, since high student vaccination rates will allow UC Davis to open with a higher capacity next fall. UC Davis also plans to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for students attending in-person fall quarter classes. 

“We have had over 3800 students report their vaccinations so far through the portal,” Schorzman said via email. “We definitely appreciate these responses, and they will help guide us as we plan for fall 2021.  The higher the vaccination rate throughout our campus community, the greater the likelihood that we will be able to keep services open and operating at high capacity in the fall.”
Written by: Shraddha Jhingan — city@theaggie.org

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