Pasadena leading the state in COVID-19 vaccination rate

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- A city famous for its Rose Parade is sowing the seeds of success. Pasadena's COVID-19 vaccination rates lead the state.

"If there's a pocket of people who aren't vaccinated, those are the people who are going to be affected," said Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, director of Pasadena's Public Health Department.

Goh is leaving no stone unturned.

The city's strategy of meeting people where they are is working. Seventy-two percent of Pasadena residents, 12 and older, are fully-vaccinated compared to 63% in Long Beach and 54% in all of Los Angeles County. Pasadena's closest competitor is San Francisco at 70%.

"And our rate of Pasadena residents with at least one shot is over 80%. That really puts us on the right track," she said.

The City of Roses isn't resting on its laurels. Goh said we'll be living with the threat of COVID for years to come so the work is far from over.

"We still are getting a case of COVID confirmed with a lab test every day. We still have young working-age adults who are eligible for vaccines getting COVID and even hospitalized," she said. "It's such a tragedy to us. We want to make sure everybody is protected to prevent that."

To reach residents, health officials have relied on partnerships with trusted community messengers - churches, schools, neighborhood clinics and doctors. They're even going door-to-door.

"We're having community members who can be those spokespeople in our communities and they can go door-to-door. They can go to community meetings in addition to the work that we've done already," Goh said.

At this Sunday's Rose Bowl Flea Market, Pasadena health officials along with Huntington Hospital will be offering free vaccinations. The first 100 people who get shots will gain free admission to the Flea Market.

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