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Lane County Reports Progress In Equity-Focused COVID-19 Vax Efforts

Tiffany Eckert

A report just out from Lane County COVID-19 Emergency Response reveals the progress made with equity efforts around vaccination distribution. 

Sarah Swofford is the Equity Officer for Lane County's COVID-19 Response. She said teams provided strategic responses to make vaccine accessible to the communities facing the most health inequities.

“One of the things that is really important when providing equity-focused work is to do it in a way that is culturally aware and that is respectful.”

Covid-19 response teams created equity driven criteria for vaccination clinics. Swafford said they have teams of vaccinators who are bilingual and culturally representative. They ask the question, “what does the community say is the best way to actually provide vaccinations for their communities?”

Response teams set up 216 vaccination clinics across the county- including mobile and pop-up style events at trusted locations in BIPOC communities. Swofford says in June and August, nearly 13,000 vaccine doses were administered through these clinics.

According to data, there remains a near 20% difference between white resident vaccination rates and that of Black or Latinx residents. However when looking at the relative percent change, or the percent of the difference over two periods of time, there were some positive results.

Swofford says the population which saw the highest relative percent change was Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, next was Black residents and then Latinx residents. These populations accessed vaccination at a higher rate than the white population.

Swofford says the county saw significant progress in terms of equity however she says structural racism is a reality and there is more work to be done.

The equity progress report was prepared for the Oregon Health Authority.

Types and Outcomes of Equity-focused Vax Clinics Run By Lane County COVID-19 Emergency Response Teams -May through September, 2021

Standing recurring clinics at community-centered locations that are trusted and accessible for BIPOC community members in high-priority, lower-vaccination zip codes. Having vaccination clinics at a standing location on a regular schedule lets our community know: we are here. Throughout the summer months, clinics took place on Tuesdays in eastern Springfield at Bob Keefer Center, Wednesdays in western Eugene at Churchill High School, and Fridays at North Eugene High School. Clinics in Thurston and Bethel areas (Cascade, Echo Hollow, and Splash! Lively Park Swim Center) occurred on a rotating basis. 

·          24% of LCPH clinics were standing clinics.

·         31% of total vaccines were given at standing clinics

·         2,044 staff and volunteer hours.

CBO clinics held in collaboration with community-based organizations at locations identified by the CBO as being ideal to provide vaccine access to their clients. These collaborations let our community know: you can find us with trusted partners.

·         19% of LCPH vaccine clinics were CBO clinics

·         8% of vaccines given were at CBO clinics

·         630 staff and volunteer hours.

Pop-up and roving clinics are requested by the community and are another engagement and outreach strategy. The Roving Team also provides in-home vaccinations to community members with language barriers, disability or illness that prevents them from accessing vaccination elsewhere. The flexibility and agility of these clinics and vaccinations lets our community know: we will go to where you are. Locations of these clinics include: low income housing, schools, rural areas, in-home vaccinations, store-fronts, restaurant kitchens, unhoused encampments, long-term care facilities, factories, warehouses, sidewalks, “van clinics” at locations across the county out of a county van, libraries, and community events.

·         32% of LCPH clinics were pop-up and roving clinics

·         10% of vaccines given were at pop-up and roving clinics

·         For a total of 1,346 staff and volunteer hours

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked in a variety of media including television, technical writing, photography and daily print news before moving to the Pacific Northwest.
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