The L.A. Trust is teaming with the L.A. County Department of Public Health, the Public Health Institute and community clinics to increase vaccinations as COVID cases rise.
By Maryjane Puffer, Executive Director
The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health
When it comes to COVID-19, most of the focus has been on those at greatest risk: older people, essential workers and those with compromised immune systems. But there’s another group at risk: children under 12. They can’t get the vaccine yet, which is why every eligible person should do so now, before school starts and the highly transmissible delta variant spreads further.
While 69% of Los Angeles County residents have received at least one dose of the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine, 4 out of 10 Angelenos are not fully vaccinated, making them susceptible to the delta variant. Nearly half the residents of some communities have yet to be vaccinated at all. This is especially true in many underserved communities, where infection rates and hospitalizations are rising.
Public health officials are concerned about the spread of coronavirus across the board, according to the Los Angeles Times, and the virus has hit Angelenos who can least afford to fall ill. We’re concerned, too. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective — and essential to protect our communities, schools and children. We cannot return to normal until everyone is safe.
Clinics (and youth) take the lead
School and community-based health centers are essential to helping to take the COVID-19 vaccination effort the final mile. The L.A. County Department of Public Health, through the Public Health Institute, has funded a $300,000 vaccination awareness effort — WeVax + LA — supported by The L.A. Trust.
A dozen school- and community-based health centers are stepping up vaccination awareness and access at 35 sites in areas hardest hit by COVID-19. The healthcare providers are Eisner Pediatric and Family Center, LAUSD Wellness Programs, Northeast Valley Health Corporation, South Bay Family Center, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, Social Model Recovery Systems, South Central Family Health Center, T.H.E. Clinic, UMMA Community Clinic, Valley Community Healthcare, ViaCare and Watts Healthcare Corporation. Vaccination sites range from Banning to Wilmington, South Los Angeles to East L.A.
Increasing public awareness is essential to Increasing vaccination rates, and the funds will promote awareness about vaccination using multilingual materials, social media and other outreach. The initiative will also include an assessment of vaccine awareness and attitudes by Watts Healthcare, workflow and text reminder systems by Valley Community Healthcare, and a Skid Row Health Fair by Social Model Recovery. The L.A. Trust is launching its own social media and communications campaign and volunteering at local clinics to help the WeVAX + LA effort. The L.A. Trust has also distributed PPE to WeVax + LA partners, including USC’s School of Dentistry mobile program.
Youth have a big stake in protecting themselves, their family members and their communities from COVID. High school students from 16 campuses have joined The L.A. Trust COVID-19 Youth Task Force to educate their communities about the dangers of the coronavirus and the importance of vaccination. The task force is funded by a grant from Aspiration co-founder Joe Sanberg (the grant was facilitated by Ethos Giving).
What you can do
We can eliminate the pandemic and prevent another outbreak — if we work together.
If you are eligible and not vaccinated already, get vaccinated now. It’s free, easy and safe.
Volunteer at a COVID clinic or other support agency.
If your child is over 2 and not vaccinated, they should wear a mask in all indoor public spaces and crowded outside public spaces. Even if they are less likely to suffer the worst effects of COVID-19, they are vulnerable to MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children), a dangerous disease linked to COVID infection.
Wear a mask when asked or indoors — especially in schools, healthcare facilities and public transportation. Unfortunately, the risk of transmission is not over and there are still millions of unvaccinated individuals in Los Angeles County.d