85% by April 5: It's Everyone's Personal Responsibility to End the Pandemic

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Thank you for advocating for Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency to provide the highest practicable allocation of vaccine doses for people with I/DD, their family caregivers, skill instructors, and direct support professionals. Your advocacy was heard, and, a safe and effective vaccine is widely available in Santa Cruz County to many people receiving long-term care, caregivers, family members, and Regional Center service providers, who all meet the definition of healthcare workers.

It is our personal responsibility to stop the pandemic by rebuilding trust in one another and giving people access to the resources they need to be safe, including the vaccine. We can work together to achieve an audacious goal by April 5th of immunity for 85% of people with I/DD, their family caregivers, skill instructors, and direct support professionals. We can't do this alone in Santa Cruz County.

There is much more work needed to personalize outreach and inform people in our community, who are sitting on the fence when it comes to receiving the vaccine. Individuals who mistrust the public health system and, in some cases, are misinformed, still have the loudest voice in the room. As of February 8th, over 40 million Americans received their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine. Science has settled the question of whether we can act now to save lives and end the pandemic. Yes we can!

I've read that healthcare settings which were the least prepared for the pandemic and faced the most devastating COVID-19 outbreaks, also have had the greatest percentage of people decline or delay the vaccination. This fact cuts to the heart of the inequity which continues to fuel the pandemic in our community. Those with the greatest resources and trust are likely to accrue the greatest benefits the most quickly, while those who were denied resources and mistrust the community's resolve to keep them safe, will continue to experience disproportionate impacts. We cannot afford the consequences of waiting to end the pandemic.

Thank you for your commitment to 85% by April 5th!