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Kaiser Permanente gives back: providing local residents equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

Presented by Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Cruz County service area is building partnerships with community and government organizations to support the equitable distribution of the vaccine by removing barriers in the communities it serves.

Kaiser Permanente is increasing access to the COVID-19 vaccine through key partnerships with the local community and government organizations in Santa Cruz County, as part of an effort to vaccinate priority populations and those most affected by the pandemic.

woman gets shot

By removing barriers to vaccinations, Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Cruz County service area is helping to ensure people have convenient access to the vaccine, particularly within neighborhoods and underserved communities. Kaiser Permanente provides strategic support to community clinics to increase vaccination rates and is enlisting trusted messengers in the community to deliver information about vaccine safety and effectiveness. Kaiser Permanente physician experts are also speaking to community groups to build confidence in the vaccine and address vaccination equity gaps.

Kaiser Permanente has invested $5 million in Northern California to support the equitable rollout of the vaccine in the communities we serve. In the Santa Cruz County service area, more than $130,000 is supporting the following vaccination efforts:

  • Santa Cruz Community Health – this leading non-profit provider of high-quality, affordable and comprehensive health services will use the grant to promote and provide vaccinations to vulnerable Spanish-speaking and LGBTQ+ residents.
  • United Way of Santa Cruz County – a non-profit organization that addresses basic needs such as education and health, United Way will partner with Black Health Matters to set up town halls and panel discussions to address vaccine safety.
  • Senderos – a volunteer-based non-profit that works to build community in the LatinX culture, will use the grant to promote and increase vaccination rates among LatinX residents ages 16 and older.
  • Community Bridges in Watsonville – an organization dedicated to helping children, families and seniors with programs and services, will use the funding to provide community vaccination outreach and operate a 24/7 vaccination helpline.

We appreciate Kaiser Permanente’s leadership and role in ensuring equity and access are at the forefront in Santa Cruz County. The funding will help us support the vaccination helpline as well as outreach and communications to target those most hesitant to access the vaccine.

— Raymon Cancino, Chief Executive Officer of Community Bridges

White and higher-income Americans are more likely to have received a vaccine than African American, Hispanic, and lower-income groups.

A recent study by the independent Kaiser Family Foundation (not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente) found that one-third of unvaccinated Hispanic adults say they want a vaccine as soon as possible. This statistic is about twice as many as unvaccinated Black and White adults. However, Hispanics also report more barriers to getting vaccinated, including fears about missing work, not getting the vaccine from a trusted place, or difficulty traveling to a vaccination site.

CU of Doctor with vaccine vial

Kaiser Permanente Northern California is committed to increasing vaccination rates by hosting town halls to dispel myths and educate the community on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Kaiser is working with faith-based organizations to raise awareness about the vaccine, providing access to vaccinations in homeless encampments, hard-to-reach neighborhoods, and senior populations with barriers to getting vaccinated.

Kaiser Permanente’s approach to the allocation of COVID-19 vaccine is consistent with the organization’s strong legacy of championing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“We are committed to removing barriers to vaccination, so everyone has access to the vaccine promptly,” said Irene Chavez, senior vice president, and area manager for Kaiser Permanente’s San Jose and Santa Cruz County service areas.

We are proud to be working with our community partners to focus on the equitable distribution of the vaccine so that together we can bring this pandemic to an end.

— Irene Chavez

About Kaiser Permanente

Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente’s mission has been to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and improve our members’ health and the communities we serve. Kaiser is recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans, and currently serves 12.5 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and a team of caregivers.

Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.