Some Bay Area Leaders Not Happy With State's Vaccine Equity Plan

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Leaders in several of the Bay Area's hardest hit communities say the state's COVID-19 vaccine equity plan is anything but equal.

Last week, the state announced that 40% of all the vaccines coming to California would be held for what were called the 400 most disadvantaged ZIP codes, but only 10 of those are in the Bay Area.

The 95122 ZIP code in San Jose is getting slammed by the coronavirus, but it didn't make the state's priority list for vaccine distribution.

"In San Jose, we’re seeing that Latinos are 25% of the population but 51% -- over half -- of cases," San Jose councilwoman Maya Esparza said.

Local leaders say they don't understand why most of San Jose's east side, Gilroy and Alviso were left off the priority list.

"I don’t know what the considerations are for the governor to make these allotments, but don’t leave us out," Esparza said.

A similar message came from San Francisco leaders, who question the use of ZIP codes to determine who makes the list.

"If we were to, for example, focus on census tracks, which are smaller cuts at geography rather than ZIP codes, we think that would lead to a much fairer way of distributing the vaccine," Assemblyman David Chiu said.

The governor's office has not made any direct comment on the issue, but during a Monday tour of a Tulare County vaccination site, Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared to acknowledge the issue.

"We have to do more because we recognize that this state is not where we need to be in terms of reaching the issues and goals that we laid out around equity," he said.

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