Alana LeBron

Millions of exhausted parents, educators, and health care providers have been anxiously awaiting COVID-19 vaccines for young children. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5-11. The Biden Administration and state and Orange County communities are embarking on a long awaited effort to vaccinate 5 to 11 year old children. At question is whether we have learned from this year’s inequitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for adults in Orange County. Wealthier, whiter communities (mostly in south Orange County) had earlier access to the COVID-19 vaccine compared to low-income communities and communities of color who had been hit hardest by the pandemic. This includes residents in north Orange County cities of Santa Ana, Anaheim, Westminster, and Garden Grove and households with low-wage workers whose work was classified as “essential work” while employers and customers took little action to promote workers’ workplace safety and health. As a public health practitioner and professor, I call upon our public health leaders to put equity top of mind in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout effort for children 5 to 11 years of age. 
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