SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Along with supply shortages, there are questions being raised over how effective the state’s vaccine distribution plan really is.
Health experts say there have been some stumbles when it comes to getting people vaccinated but even though California might seem like it’s falling behind other states when it comes to distribution, they say our size and population make us unique.
California is ranking near the bottom when it comes to vaccine equity, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Earlier this month, the state announced it was setting aside 40 percent of vaccine doses for the hardest-hit communities and most vulnerable populations.
Despite that ranking, Governor Newsom on Friday praised how the state is doing so far.
“Well, I’m very proud of the work we’re doing on equity. No other state in the country is doing that and it goes deep to the conversation we’re having today. The issue of equity, so, we’re not going to back off on that commitment,” Newsom said.
Health experts note it’s important to keep in mind the size and diversity of California when comparing vaccination success to other states.
UCSF professor and infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says California is complex.
“Of course when you look at North Dakota, or New Mexico or Alaska we’re going to look really bad,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.
Part of the frustration with the vaccine rollout comes from who has been prioritized and how slowly we appear to be advancing.
Dr. Chin-Hong says a vaccination program of this scale has never been done before and the biggest problem is supply, not strategy.
“I feel like we could still be doing a lot better at this point mainly because of the hurdles we had to overcome in the beginning when it was really rocky and where the expectations set by many of the leaders were not the reality on the ground. I think right now they are,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.
Dr. Chin-Hong is proud of how California is doing in terms of vaccinating the vulnerable 65+ age group and how the state is at least looking at equity.
“Making sure that all communities have access to the vaccine even though we’re limited in number right now and that means our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities regardless of race and ethnicity in the poorest areas of our state,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.
Governor Newsom has argued the 40% overlay for hard-hit communities should continue because he says it’s the right thing to do.
He says in-order for economic recovery to move forward those underserved communities need to continue to be the focus.