April 13, 2021

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Outstanding health & fitness

COVID vaccine equity plan targets these Sacramento ZIP codes

Twenty-two neighborhoods in the Sacramento region are about to get a big boost toward COVID-19 safety under California’s most overt plan yet to ensure equity in its vaccine rollout and speed up reopenings statewide.

The state announced last week it will direct 40% of its supply of vaccines to residents living in its most under resourced ZIP codes, which have not been receiving a proportionate share of doses thus far — a problem that Gov. Gavin Newsom has promised to rectify.

Most are in Sacramento County, including neighborhoods hard-hit by the coronavirus. Others are in agricultural areas in Yolo, Sutter and Yuba counties. No neighborhoods in El Dorado or Placer counties qualify.

Residents who qualify to get the vaccine and live in these targeted ZIP codes may be able to secure shots at pop-up walk-up vaccine sites, or at special vaccine trucks that will drive into neighborhoods. But county health officials and hospital systems have been vague thus far about how they will practically implement the new directive.

The Bee has listed all 22 neighborhoods below.

Governor focuses on vaccine equity

The 446 ZIP codes identified by the state fall in the bottom quartile of the “Healthy Places Index,” which measures key health indicators of a community that can predict life expectancy, such as income, grocery and health insurance access, homeownership, education level and more.

The new directive does not mean everyone living in these neighborhoods will suddenly get access to the vaccine. Instead, the goal is to make it easier for currently eligible Californians — people over 65, educators, food and agriculture workers, healthcare workers and emergency services staff — living in these under resourced neighborhoods to secure shots.

County health officials and healthcare leaders are already beginning to scramble on how to make good on the new directive, which the state has said must take effect starting next week. How local health departments and healthcare systems will actually ensure doses get to these neighborhoods — whether with community “access codes” for online appointment registration or with pop-up clinics — remains largely unclear.

“Because the Governor’s announcement for a proposed allocation of 40% to under-served communities was so recent, we don’t have specific details yet,” said county spokeswoman Brenda Bongiorno in an email. “However, the allocations would allow us to ramp up vaccine efforts in these communities faster.”

“Our goal is to eliminate as many barriers as possible to ensure an equitable and inclusive COVID-19 vaccine distribution, once available,” she added.

Sacramento County Health Chief Dr. Olivia Kasirye warned that her staff and health care providers here may not be able to get out to everyone as quickly as people would like.

Though equity has been this year’s watchword, disparities have plagued the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to curtail its spread and impact. As of now, about twice as many people in California’s healthiest neighborhoods have been fully vaccinated compared to the state’s most disadvantaged communities.

Ending the pandemic quickly and effectively, state officials stress, means vaccinating those most at-risk to serious effects or exposure at work or in their life — in many cases, low-income people of color and those working low-wage yet essential jobs. About 40% of the state’s deaths and cases have occurred in the bottom 25% of neighborhoods on the Healthy Places Index.

The immediate goal is to get 2 million vaccines administered in these hardest-hit communities — where about a quarter of all vaccine-eligible Californians live — to ultimately speed up the state’s reopening plans. Just over 1.2 million doses have been doled out in these neighborhoods thus far.

Who qualifies in the Sacramento region

The new directive applies to 22 ZIP codes in the six-county Sacramento region: 12 in Sacramento County, four in Yolo County, two in Sutter County and four in Yuba County. There are no ZIP codes in Placer or El Dorado counties that fall in the bottom quartile of the Health Places Index.

Here are the neighborhoods, listed as ZIP codes, in the Sacramento region that will be targeted for expanded vaccine coverage in the coming weeks:

95639: Just off the Sacramento River near the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refugee, this ZIP code covers the 335 people who live in the unincorporated rural area of Hood.

95660: This ZIP code represents North Highlands, where more than 35,000 people live and where McClellan Park — home to a new county mass vaccination drive-thru site — is located. Here, the median household income is under $30,000 and just over half the residents are people of color.

95815: This is the Old North Sacramento area, where over 25,00 people live. In some parts, nearly one in four people don’t have access to a car here and the median household income is roughly $25,500. Most residents are people of color, with a plurality in most census tracts being Latino.

95820: This ZIP code represents neighborhoods spanning between North City Farms and Tahoe Park South, including South Oak Park, where more than 36,000 people live. Parts of this ZIP code have healthier community conditions than just 1.3% of other California neighborhoods, and the median household income is $24,225. More than 86% of the residents here are people of color, with roughly 46% being Latino.

95821: This is the northern part of Arden Arcade, where nearly 36,000 people. While parts of this ZIP code are affluent, most are low-income — in some parts, the median household income is roughly $26,000, and roughly one in three people 18 to 64 years old don’t have health insurance.

95823 and 95824: These ZIP codes include much of South Sacramento, including the Parkway and Fruitridge Manor areas, and have been some of the neighborhoods hit hardest by COVID-19 cases. More than 100,000 people live in these ZIP codes, which are largely communities of color. In some parts, nearly three out of four people make under a poverty wage by California standards.

95828: This represents the unincorporated area of Florin, where nearly 59,000 people live. In some areas, nearly half of the residents ages 18 to 64 are unemployed and the median household income is under $27,000. This ZIP code is mostly nonwhite, with neighborhoods generally having a plurality of either Latino or Asian residents.

95832: This is the southern-most edge of Meadowview, where roughly 12,000 people live. The neighborhood is mostly nonwhite, where 30% of residents are Asian, 27% Latino and 22% are Black. The median household income is just over $42,000, and nearly 40% of people 25 to 64 years old are unemployed.

95838: This is the North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights area, where roughly 39,000 people live. This ZIP code was where one of the worst COVID-19 hotspots in the county raged this year. In some parts, nearly 70% of residents are earning a poverty wage by California standards and one in five don’t have access to a car.

95841 and 95842: These ZIP codes represent Foothill Farms, where more than 50,000 residents live. Here, roughly 60% of residents don’t make an income above the poverty line by California standards, and almost half are people of color. One in three people 18 to 64 years old don’t have health insurance.

95606 and 95637: These ZIP codes cover much of the Capay Valley, including the hamlets of Brooks, Guinda and part of Ramsey. The area is largely agricultural area. Its population is minimal at about 600.

95653: This area covers the town of Madison in west Yolo and its surroundings, an agricultural area where most of the 500-plus residents are Hispanic, and incomes are low.

95937: This ZIP code covers the agricultural area around Dunnigan in north Yolo, and includes about 1,500 residents. Property values are low, and the percentage of residents who did not graduate from high school is high. Most residents are Hispanic.

95953: This is the Live Oak area and surrounding agricultural lands. Population is 11,000, according to the Census Bureau, of which 57% are Hispanic. Median household income is low, $36,000 and the unemployment rate is nearly 9%.

95991: This area includes Yuba City and the Highway 99 corridor south to Nicolaus, a rice and walnut farming area. Population is 41,000. Median home value is low, $162,000. More than 48% of area residents are Hispanic. Yuba City has a large and active Sikh community.

95901 and 95903: These areas include Marysville, Linda, Beale Air Force Base, and north to the rural Loma Rica community, which has been hard hit by wildfires in recent years. The area, population 31,000, is largely white and Hispanic. Household income is low. Nearly 75% of students here qualify for free or reduced lunch programs.

95925: This is a lightly populated hill area on the northwest side of New Bullards Bar Reservoir and east of Challenge-Brownsville. It includes homesteads along Oregon Hill Road near Greenville.

95961: Both the Olivehurst and Plumas Lake areas in this ZIP code are stable middle and upper middle class communities. The area, though, also includes substantial farmland along the Feather River, where poverty rates are high, and household incomes low.

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Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks covers equity issues in the Sacramento region. She’s previously worked at The New York Times and NPR, and is a former Bee intern. She graduated from UC Berkeley, where she was the managing editor of The Daily Californian.
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