June 24, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Focus on South L.A. doctors fighting vaccine inequities

To the editor: I am an African American internal medicine physician who practices in the Crenshaw area. Two of your recently published articles on COVID-19 vaccination access include a piece on individuals receiving vaccinations outside their assigned tier and a column by Steve Lopez on the difficulty he had trying to get his first shot.

This difficulty is what many of my African American colleagues in healthcare and our patients are facing. We’ve endured the inequitable siting of testing locations, the inequitable distribution of Remdesivir to our community hospitals, and now the inequities in accessing vaccines, all of which create racial disparities in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.

If not for the vaccination site at Kedren Community Health Center in South Los Angeles, many healthcare workers of color would not have been vaccinated.

Our focus should not be on the anomalies of individuals who received the vaccine and then cried foul over unfairness. The focus should be on Kedren and Dr. Jerry P. Abraham, who runs the health center’s vaccine operations, breaking economic and racial barriers to vaccine access.

William King, M.D., Los Angeles

..

To the editor: L.A. County’s current distribution method encourages “vaccine chasers.” Pictures of young adults crowding around vaccination sites, waiting for hours in hopes of obtaining leftover doses, raise worries that we may be seeing super-spreader events.

In a few weeks, we may be discussing the “vaccine chaser surge.”

The county should rethink its vaccine distribution effort by setting up sites in the neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19, perhaps utilizing local schools as offered by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Pini Herman, Beverly Grove

..

To the editor: We’ve been hearing many complaints about the distribution of the vaccines, from equity issues to the difficulty of navigating the appointment process.

I don’t want to minimize those concerns; they are real and need to be addressed. But we need to remember what a huge challenge this is.

I want to express my gratitude for the hundreds of professionals and volunteers who have been working at the Dodger Stadium site. Those people were out there in the cold and rain for hours on Saturday, getting soaked as they continued to help thousands of Angelenos, and yet they did their jobs with patience and kindness.

The entire operation was an amazing orchestration of moving a huge crowd through the process as efficiently and effectively as possible. So I just wanted to say thank you to everyone working at that site — may God bless you, and I hope none of you caught a cold out there on Saturday.

Susan Collins, Glendale

..

To the editor: The letter writer who experienced the vaccination process “without a hitch” was the exception, not the rule.

After several hours on the county’s website, I finally managed to get an appointment for my mother, who is 87 years old. Our slot was for 1:30 p.m. Friday at Hansen Dam in Pacoima.

We arrived at 1 p.m. to find a line two miles long. One hour and one mile later, a woman with a bullhorn made an announcement: “There are no more vaccines for today. You can go to Dodger Stadium or come back tomorrow.”

I talked to the woman, and she said I should get in line at 8 a.m. Essentially, she suggested that anyone who lost out on previous days was competing with people who had made appointments for that day. Perhaps that’s why they ran out of doses: We were in that two-mile line with people who never made it to the front on Thursday or Wednesday.

I have managed to keep my mother safe for the last 10 months with isolation and masking, and I will continue to do so.

Leslee Koritzke, Altadena