By Marisa Lagos, KQED
California announced Friday it has administered 2 million vaccine doses to people in vulnerable, low-income ZIP codes. This will allow counties to more quickly reopen activities such as indoor dining and indoor gyms at reduced capacity.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that he would tie reopening standards to ensuring that the people most impacted by the pandemic are protected against the virus. By hitting the 2 million mark, the state will reassess counties and allow them to move to the red tier within 48 hours instead of waiting until Tuesday.
The governor sat down Friday with Marisa Lagos from our partner KQED to talk about the emphasis on targeted ZIP code vaccination sites, schools reopening and the recall.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
On whether the focus should shift from mass vaccination sites to community clinics to improve vaccine equity
Well, the LA site, just 14% of the folks that are accessing that site are Caucasian and Oakland, 17%. So we're broadly doing well on an equity metric when you consider Latinos, African Americans and Asians. But specific to your point about mass vaccination sites, issues of access to tools of technology, the ability to navigate the internet, get on the MyTurn app and/or even navigate the streets and get into a car — you're right. We need to supplement these efforts. And that's why both those sites, even the mass vaccination sites, have satellite pop-up sites that go into communities, meet people where they are and address those issues. So it's a yes and — mass vaccination sites and more culturally competent in language, door-to-door efforts in neighborhoods, diverse communities.
On whether he’s reconsidering the formula of sending 40% of vaccines to specific zip codes to address equity, which has been criticized by Bay Area lawmakers
No. We're committed to the 40% overlay because it's the right thing to do. It's not only the right thing to do, you've got to look at the disease burden. It's been overwhelming in the lower quartile. It's been overwhelming in communities of color, underserved communities. And so we have a moral obligation. And I would also argue that obligation as it relates to our economic recovery, to address those that have been disproportionately impacted, that we also disproportionately rely on as essential workers in terms of the vaccination protocols.
Here's the reality in the Bay Area, we've kept the — and and I'm very familiar and intimately appreciative of all the great work that so many Bay Area counties are doing — we held stable their baseline allocations. So we're not taking anything away. All we're saying of those baseline allocations, we've got to have a lens of equity where we're providing access to East Palo Alto, not just Palo Alto ... As more supplies avail themselves, and that's happening very, very soon, we're going to move out of this dialectic, this stress, and will be in an abundance frame. And that's coming, if you heard from the president last night, sooner than most people think.
On some schools being closed and facing budget shortfalls
The issue of funding is, to me, not the issue. The issue is resolve to safely get our schools reopened for the most vulnerable — our homeless youth, our special needs youth, our foster youth, our English as second learners ... And do it in a sequential manner, a safe manner, and do it quickly, as the calendar is now working against us. We put an additional $6.6 billion to address the calendar by extending the school day and providing flexibility if local districts decide to extend the school year. We're working with districts all around the state around summer and really doing more than we've ever done in California districts to supplement summer school and opportunities. But now 9,000 — literally 9,000 — schools out of 11,000 in California have either reopened for in-person instruction or have firm dates to do just that.
On the recall effort against him
I mean, this thing started before the pandemic. Look at the petition that's out on the streets. And so, don't take my word for it. Take the petitioner's word for it. It's about immigration. It's about our health care policies. It's about our criminal justice reform. It's about the diversity of the state. It's about our clean air, clean water programs, meeting our environmental strategies. So they were crystal clear what this is about.
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