Contra Costa County's Hardest Hit Areas Struggle to Convince Residents Get Vaccinated

Richmond's Iron Triangle has enough vaccines to administer 500 doses a day this week, only 43 showed up Thursday

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Contra Costa County has been ahead of the curve when it comes to getting the doses needed to get residents vaccinated, but now they're running into a new problem - convincing enough people to get vaccinated, especially in some of the neighborhoods hit hardest by the virus.

A pop up clinic in the city of Richmond's Iron Triangle has enough vaccines to administer 500 doses a day this week. But on Thursday, only 43 people showed up.

“This vaccine mess is something else,” said resident Dimples Witherspoon. “You don’t know what the outcome might be as to the side effects later on. They just came up with it too quick I think.”

She expressed the distrust many in Richmond's Iron Triangle are feeling about the COVID-19 vaccines. 

As dozens of workers sat waiting to vaccinate people at a pop-up clinic in the parking lot of St. John Missionary Baptist Church just a few blocks away, some people had no idea it was even taking place. 

A week ago long lines and limited appointments at Bay Area vaccination locations, but now, in many cases, no lines and no appointments necessary. Jean Elle reports.

“I haven’t really heard about it,” said resident Tiffany Powell. “There’s not a lot of news or information on it, I really didn’t know.”

Powell says she’s just comfortable getting the vaccine. he's not convinced it’s safe. “I am hesitant because now they say people are getting blood clogs and different symptoms and side effects from it so I’m super hesitant.”

But the county hopes to dispel those worries, and they are encouraging people to stop by. 

“We have lots of friendly people to greet you to give you fact sheets to explain everything,” said mobile vaccine site coordinator Heather Grove. “We have plenty of time to answer your questions so you come on down.”

The county’s equity officer says they are determined to ease fears in communities hit hardest by COVID-19 and protect as many as possible from the deadly virus. 

“We can’t leave anyone out. We have to support our historically marginalized communities and make sure they are receiving the same quality service and access to vaccines as everyone else,” said Gilbert Salinas, Contra Costa County equity officer. 

But clearly there’s much work to be done to convince those who are hesitant to roll up their sleeves. 

“Good for people who think they want it, for me it’s not affecting my day,” said Richmond resident Jason Crawford. 

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