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Riverside County shows progress in closing COVID vaccination gap in Latinx community

Riverside County Public Health  has worked hard to narrow the coronavirus vaccination gap among the Latinx community. 

It is a group who make up about half the population here.

News Channel 3’s Dani Romero takes a closer look at the progress in closing those disparities.

“I am feeling good," said Alexia Mendez. She got her second shot at a pop-up clinic in Coachella.

“I think it is important to be vaccinated," said Mendez.

It's one of the many efforts the county has made to help  bridge the gap in communities of color who were significantly impacted by the virus. 

Back in February, we first reported that the Hispanic population had received about 18 percent of the doses administered. Full report click here.

At the time, White people were most likely to be vaccinated among ethnic groups. 

Now, the data shows a different story. 

In this graph you can see that 34 percent of vaccines administered have been into the arms of Hispanic people, who make up nearly half of our county’s population. 

"I think it's incredibly satisfying, making an impact in the community but the history of this community has been an underserved community," said Kim Saruwatari, Riverside County Director of Public Health.

Saruwatari is proud of the progress they have made with the help of local organizations. 

“It was an amazing operation taking the testing and now vaccination to the fields," said Luz Gallegos, Executive Director of Todec Legal Center. "Actually taking them to where workers were at. This way they didn't feel that they were losing any hours out of the work to go get tested or to go get vaccinated.” 

And we’re ahead of the state too.  Still, nearly 70% of Riverside County’s Latinx population has yet to receive one dose.

The county explained they will continue their commitment post COVID to provide the health resources needed for these communities. 

"We can’t think about this as a one time endure," said Saruwatari. "We have to think about this for the long haul.” 

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Dani Romero

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