NewsCovering Kern County


What barriers do vulnerable communities face when getting the vaccine, how can you help?

Outreach is vital
Posted at 11:47 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 12:17:50-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — After a year of uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as more vaccines are distributed across the country. But some are still facing barriers to getting the shot.

23ABC is looking at the barriers these different communities are facing when it comes to vaccines.

Thursday, Kern County Public Health released public service announcements aimed at reaching the black community. Arleana Waller talks more about the goal of the PSA.

Waller, of MLKcommUNITY and ShePower, partnered with Kern County Public Health to start a series of PSA's tailored toward the African-American community here in Kern County. This partnership's goal is to reach a community that suffers from health inequity.

The black community is among the hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Arleana Waller speaks about Public Health PSA

However, there are some other issues and concerns within different communities. Such as lack of education on vaccines as well as language and cultural barriers. Raji Brar, co-founder of the Sikh Women's Association talks about language barriers in getting people vaccinated.

Raji Brar speaks about language barriers in getting people vaccinated

Brar told 23ABC that one of the biggest hurdles for their community is the fact that the California vaccination website "myturn" doesn't have Punjabi as a language option yet.

"We realized how important it is for folks to have access in their own language, not just verbal but actually written as well."

The education that comes in is lacking, so we try our best to be health educators and translators.

Co-Founder of Sikh Women's Association speaks about vaccinating community

Brar also noticed how hesitant people in the Sikh community are when it comes to getting the vaccine. She says the education just isn't there, but when friends and family in the Sikh community saw each other getting the vaccine, that encouraged others to as well.

The Sikh and African-American communities aren't the only ones suffering. The Latinx community also suffers from health inequity and a lack of education in regard to the vaccine.

South Kern Sol has started outreach efforts meant to educate the Latinx community and provide them with information in their language.

They do have a vaccine clinic for farmworkers coming up this weekend. Held on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1999 Edison Highway, Unit #1 in Bakersfield.

There will also be a vaccine clinic in Lamont at the David Head Center, 10300 San Diego St. on Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It is recommended that you call and secure an appointment by dialing (661) 383-2588.

Reyna Olaguez, executive director of South Kern Sol said they needed to go the extra mile to make sure they reach these vulnerable communities.

We have communities in Kern County that don’t speak Spanish, they speak Mixtec, you know or other languages that are not Spanish or English.

Executive Director of South Kern Sol speaks about outreach and vaccine distribution

Dee Slade, the director of the African-American Network of Kern County says members of the community are spread out all over the county. Reaching them is vital to getting community members the vaccine.

She emphasizes that trusted messages are needed.

As far as short term goals, we’ve been working on those. To have trusted messages all throughout the city and county.

Director of the African American Network of Kern County discusses next steps in getting vaccinations to communities

Education and outreach are key and strides are being made to reach these vulnerable communities.

Brar says they are ready to help in any way they can.

She says we all have to come together to help one another.

Their goal is to continue to partner with whoever is ready to work with them.

Raji Brar discusses strides bilingual vaccine access and education

The Sikh Women's Association has made a Bi-Lingual Punjabi and English Resource Line available.

You can access this resource by calling (888) 712-4143.

You can also access the myturn website here.