Local organization helps rural communities get access to COVID-19 vaccines

Leadership Counsel staff are knocking on doors in remote and rural communities to reach people who may not have access to the internet or transportation.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For many people who live in rural or underserved communities, the COVID-19 vaccine and health care isn't easily accessible.

Local organizations have partnered with Governor Gavin Newsom's office to get vaccines to people most at risk.

"We have been in these communities for a long time now, we are kind of like their trusted messenger," said Blanca Escobedo, a policy advocate at Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

Leadership Counsel staff are knocking on doors in remote and rural communities to reach people who may not have access to the internet or transportation.

"When someone comes to their door or hands them a flyer while walking, it's like wow, this is going to be so near, this is gonna be near their homes," she said.

RELATED: Why the Moderna vaccine is important for the Valley's rural areas

Early March, Governor Newsom announced California would send 40% of all vaccine doses to the most vulnerable neighborhoods. The shots are dispersed among 400 zip codes with the highest rates of infection.

While race and ethnicity are not factors in determining where the vaccinations go, officials say the ZIP codes that are the most vulnerable tend to have higher populations of Blacks, Latinos and Asian and Pacific Islanders.

RELATED: COVID-19 impacts kids from Black, Latino communities disproportionately

Leadership Counsel helped bring vaccine clinics to Ivanhoe and Fairmead earlier this month and will return in April for second doses.

"They've been the first rural clinics in those communities," said Escobedo.

Every day, the number of people getting vaccinated continues to climb. But many communities in the Central Valley are still behind.



In Fresno County, only about 17% of adults have been fully vaccinated compared to Mono County where 35% of adults have been fully vaccinated.

The county furthest from complete vaccination is Kings County, where only 10% of adult residents are fully vaccinated.

"We hope that we can continue to be part of those efforts and help bridge that gap that exists," she said.
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