Customer Opinion: Here is the key to ending the pandemic | New
Getting vaccinated is not just about protecting yourself. It is about protecting our family, our loved ones, our friends, our neighbors. That’s why we call it public health.
The only way to get through this pandemic is together. That’s why we need the participation of every Californian, as well as continued statewide coordination and cooperation.
In recent months, the state has made great strides. California now has one of the lowest infection rates in the United States Just a few months ago our state had nearly 60,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day and well over 500 deaths per day. Those numbers have dropped to less than 1,400 new cases and less than 100 deaths per day. We’ve administered over 33 million vaccines statewide – and over 6 million of those doses have been delivered in our most vulnerable communities.
One of the most important responsibilities of government is to ensure that our most vulnerable residents receive equal protection, especially during a crisis. So, as we strive to deliver vaccines in the safest and fastest way possible, fairness continues to be at the heart of our strategy.
Today, anyone aged 12 and over is eligible for vaccination, or around 2.1 million newly eligible people. Clearly, as millions more become eligible, we need to take action to ensure we continue to reach the hardest hit communities as effectively as possible.
First, we need to provide access and support to make it easy to reach Californians who are disproportionately affected by this disease. This could include transportation assistance, extended hours, language support and resources to reach Californians confined to home and without housing. Second, we need to come together as a community to build confidence in these life-saving vaccines so that as many Californians as possible choose to be vaccinated.
Across California, those in positions of trust – clergy and teachers, neighbors and friends, business leaders and colleagues – should urge everyone around them to learn the facts about coronavirus vaccines. They have been proven to work, first in large clinical trials, and now in the general population. They are safe. They are effective. Clearly, the benefits of getting the vaccine far outweigh the risk of side effects.
Most importantly, they are our way out of this darkness. These are the ways we can completely reopen our condition, reconnect with our friends and loved ones, and end this pandemic.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is the Surgeon General of California. This article was first published by CalMatters, a non-partisan, non-profit journalism firm that works with media partners statewide, including The Almanac.