Multigenerational households wait for vaccine as California releases demographics of distribution

Jose Angel Corrales, 76, and his wife, Ramona, were eager to get the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Long Beach this week.

Their daughter-in-law, Ana Corrales. said her in-laws lost loved ones to the virus and understand the importance of the vaccine. Her mother, a cancer survivor, also received a second dose.

"They're our most vulnerable and that's who we have to watch out for. So, it's making us feel a little bit more at ease that they have this extra layer of protection," said Corrales.

That's an added layer of protection that millions who live in multigenerational households still do not have.

For example, Corrales' parents live with her four siblings who leave home for work and are exposed. Corrales' mother also looks after her kids while she visits several work sites and runs a Mexican "paleta," or popsicle. catering business.

"We're just patiently waiting for our turn to come because we do understand that there are people at higher risk like my mom," she said, adding they have not let their guard down.

In California, Latinos make up 39% of the population and 16% of people who have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. In L.A. County, the trend is similar. However, for the most part, the pool of those eligible only includes healthcare workers and people 65 and older.

"55% of California's essential workforce identifies as Latino," said founding director of UCLA's Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, Sonja Diaz. "When we think about who our workers are right now and the fact that they're on the frontline, saving American lives, we know that they're not over the age of 65, and they deserve access to a vaccine," she said.

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Latinos make up less than 40% of California's population but account for 55% of the state's COVID-19 cases.



A recent study by UCLA's Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, titled COVID-19 Punishes Latinos for Hard Work and Larger Families, highlighted the disproportionate impact on Latinos who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home and who live in home with several other wage earners.

Diaz pointed to Riverside County as heading in the right direction by taking vaccines directly to farmworkers, for example.

"And it's open ended. What's really important is you don't need technology to get your appointment, you just need to show up," she said.

The group, along with other advocates, sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom with other necessary solutions, including engaging trusted community organizations to assist the public in scheduling appointments.

It's a process that can be cumbersome, even for someone who is familiar with online technology.

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Orange County is counting on its community partners to vaccinate Latino seniors most vulnerable to COVID-19 and address immunization disparities.



"I think of other people in their same age range like my aunts and uncles...like people in the community that don't regularly have access to one the internet," said Corrales. She and her siblings spent weeks trying to schedule an appointment for their mother.

For now, Corrales and her family hope to encourage others to get the vaccine.

"It doesn't hurt. Don't be scared," Jose Angel said in Spanish immediately after getting his second dose.

"We have to think of others," said Ramona Corrales.
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