• Kalle Noble

Feature Article: COVID-19 Vaccine Day bringing Health to the Heart of Los Angeles

The world is racing to receive vaccines, but while some communities have been hit harder by the pandemic, other communities seem to be being offered a way out first.

*Note: The following is an academic assignment written from the perspective of Homeboy Industries and not actually associated with them. The full PR project can be seen here.


May 16, 2021

To register for the vaccination day visit: http://curative.com/sites/28771

Staff waiting to hand out the vaccine at one of our vaccination events.

While the world has been engulfed in a pandemic this past year, neighborhoods with high rates of poverty have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19. With violent crime rates growing ever higher, there seems to be a light at the end of this third wave. We at Homeboy Industries will be teaming up with LA Supervisor Hilda Solis and the local community to bring the vaccines to marginalized communities by hosting a vaccination day event at our LA headquarters on Saturday, May 22 from 9am to 3pm.

The vaccination day hosted at Homeboy Industries LA headquarters is located at 130 W Bruno St, Los Angeles, CA 90012. The event will be held outside in the parking lot where masks will be mandatory. Appointments are encouraged, but not required. The event will be free. Care kits, diapers, wipes, HIV testing, prepared meals, and baby food will also be distributed. The vaccines offered are Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson. For Pfizer vaccines the clinic will return in three weeks for second doses.

We at Homeboy Industries have witnessed how COVID-19 has disrupted the livelihood of people across the country. Several vaccines have been circulating the United States, but here in Los Angeles the distribution of these vaccines has not been equal.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has hit some communities much harder than others. The vaccine seems to be the best hope at finding a way to return to normalcy. According to the Los Angeles Times, since mid-April, COVID-19 infections have been dramatically increasing within neighborhoods with high poverty rates. Simultaneously, infections in wealthier neighborhoods have been decreasing. These drastic contrasting numbers are likely attributed to the fact that until recently only 17% of total vaccines in Los Angeles county have been allocated towards residents of impoverished communities. In recent news, Governor Newsom has changed these efforts to send 40% of vaccines to these hard-hit communities.

This variation in vaccine distribution rates has led to large gaps in racial groups having equal access to the vaccine. According to NBC Los Angeles the numbers show that 40% of Black residents, 48% of Latinx residents, 62% of white residents, and 71% of Asian residents of Los Angeles county have received their first vaccination.

This has led to a large uptick in hospitalizations for Black residents of Los Angeles that is double the rate of any other race. Unfortunately, this disproportion in affects felt by the COVID-19 pandemic is not new, and is entwined with the ongoing issue of healthcare equity. With the pandemic more and more people lacking insurance coverage are unable to afford to be hospitalized. Individuals within ethnic and minority groups often work essential jobs that are unable to do work from home. Some may not be able to afford to miss work and will attend work while sick. Crowded living spaces can also be attributed to this ongoing disproportion of infection rates.

Homeboy Industries mask available online at our merchandise store.

Meanwhile, people in wealthier neighborhoods have had the ability to work from home, travel without public transportation, or have groceries delivered. The importance having a living wage has never been clearer than during the pandemic.

Even for the young and healthy, hospitalizations are not uncommon. Lately there has been a great rise in percentage of young people being hospitalized compared to the older population. This can be attributed to younger people going outside more often and older people having had early access to the vaccination. Even though young people are more likely to survive, these hospitalizations have led to individuals racking up large medical expenses.

Not only will being vaccinated help with avoiding the risk of debt, but will also allow going to work with less worry of getting infected as well as infecting others. Pzifer has a 91.3% efficacy rating, while Johnson and Johnson has a 66.3% efficacy rating against COVID-19. The Los Angeles Times argues that more vaccine supplies should have been initially available within communities with higher rates of essential workers.

Even while stuck at home, Los Angeles residents are finding life difficult during the pandemic. Due to the heightened stress and long exposure time to social media, gang violence and homicide rates reported have nearly doubled since the past year. Reportedly, people are getting into more fights online which leads to actual damage in real life outside of social media as well as lives lost. Meanwhile, non-violent crime rates have gone down as more people are staying home.

Homeboy Industries hopes that our community will recognize the importance of getting vaccinated and join us together at our vaccination day event. To improve not only our own health, but those we live with, our family, friends, and coworkers. To be able to return to safely to work everyday. To be able to put our phones down and for everyone to go outside again.

To register for the vaccination day visit: http://curative.com/sites/28771

To get vaccinated on a different day visit: https://myturn.ca.gov