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Pima County working to serve disadvantaged groups

Vaccine Pop-up
Posted at 7:49 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 00:28:03-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The county reports about 275,000 vaccines have been administered in Pima County, and it's ramping up efforts to vaccinate vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

Pop-up testing sites are popping up in our under-served communities. About 1,700 people were vaccinated this weekend alone through these efforts, according to a recent County memo.

"Statewide it's really striking the differences in the populations versus the people getting vaccinated. In order to combat that in Pima County we have to do more of those targeted to specific communities,” said Supervisor Adelita Grijalva, district 5.

This weekend, four pop-ups were located around Pima County -- in areas where neighbors may have less access to health care -- or a harder time traveling to get vaccinated.

More than two-thirds of the people vaccinated at those two locations are Hispanic, according to the memo.

Overall, about one-fifth of those served by the pop-ups are African American.

We've reported before that minority communities are often hesitant to take experimental or new treatments.

Supervisor grijalva said she understands.

"If you take a look at the people over 75, historically in our society people have been guinea pigs and a lot of these vaccines were tried out on our community and so they’re reluctant in that way,” said Supervisor Grijalva.

She said it’s also tough when the request comes from people they don’t trust and that it’ll really take that personal one-on-one approach with people trusted in their community.

When it comes to outreach— the county’s chief medical officer Dr. Francisco Garcia said the county is focused on inreach.

"That is talking to, who those major stakeholders are in that community, in part because we need to manage demand, we need to manage the amount of people who want to come to these sites and we are walking a very, very fine line, we want just enough demand to finish all our vaccines, but not so much that we are training away people,” said Dr. Garcia.

Supervisor Grijalva said she and Supervisor Matt Heinz wrote to the Governor to ask that if additional vaccine sites are announced in Pima County, to ensure they are in disadvantaged communities.