USA

10 SF Bay Area zip codes get vaccine priority under new equity plan

California will begin distributing 40% of all vaccine doses to the most vulnerable neighborhoods in the state to inoculate people most at risk from the coronavirus in the latest revamp of the state's rules, the state announced Thursday.

Those given priority in the new system live in ZIP codes that fall into the lowest quartile of the state’s Healthy Places Index, which measures socioeconomic opportunity. The areas are considered most vulnerable based on metrics such as household income, education level and access to health care. While race and ethnicity are not explicit factors, the ZIP codes overlap heavily with neighborhoods inhabited by higher populations of Black, Latino and Asian and Pacific Islander residents.

Within these areas, there are about 8 million people eligible for shots. Many of the neighborhoods are in Los Angeles County and the Central Valley, which have had among the highest rates of infection.

Ten Bay Area zip codes are on the list, with three in Alameda County, one in Contra Costa, two in San Francisco and  four in Solano County.

Alameda County

Fruitvale, Oakland: 94601

East Oakland: 94621

East Oakland: 94603

Contra Costa

Richmond: 94801

San Francisco

Tenderloin: 94102

Treasure Island: 94130

Solano

Vallejo: 94590

Fairfield: 94535

Birds Landing: 94512

Elmira: 95625

In a Thursday press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that not only was the move the right thing to do, it was critical to opening up more of the state's economy.

“It is a race against the variants. It's a race against exhaustion. It's a race to safely, thoughtfully open our economy, mindful that it has to be an economy that doesn't leave people behind, that is truly inclusive,” Newsom said. He also encouraged people to wear two masks.

The announcement is the latest change in an evolving approach to getting nearly 40 million residents in California vaccinated, adding to ongoing confusion among people clamoring for shots. The move to ease reopening also comes days after several Republican-led states lifted COVID-19 restrictions, as the U.S. now has three vaccines available.

Tying reopening to vaccination equity metrics was cheered by representatives of the legislative Black and Latino caucuses, as well as social justice and equity groups. Latinos make up roughly half of cases and deaths in California, even though they are 39% of the population.

Setting aside 40% of vaccine supply essentially means that hard-hit ZIP codes will be administering double the doses compared to what is currently available. Data show that of the shots given, only about 17% were administered in vulnerable communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

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