Dear Friend,

From day one I have worked to ensure that health equity is at the core of everything we do in the County of San Diego. I’m proud to share that we continue to invest in our COVID-19 response, providing much-needed resources and intervention programs to benefit communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
 
As part of my commitment to build a more equitable and just County, I’m proud to have championed the recent Declaration of the Pollution of the Tijuana River Valley as a Public Health Crisis, introduced a Sustainable Initiative to Uplift Boys and Men of Color, and together with community leaders, launched the South Bay Equity and Economic Recovery Taskforce.
 
In an effort to provide you with the most up to date information, my team also put together an FAQ document in English and Spanish with answers to your vaccine questions. If you have any additional questions or need direct assistance, please don't hesitate to contact my office at (619) 531-5511 or via email at District1community@sdcounty.ca.gov.
In Service,
Nora Vargas
Vice Chair
Supervisor, District 1
COVID-19 UPDATE
SD County Opens Vaccines To New Eligible Groups
As of Saturday, February 27, 2021, San Diegans who work in emergency services, child care and education, food handling and agriculture can sign up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Those making appointments will be required to show a photo ID and proof of eligibility. The vaccine supply is still limited - we appreciate your patience as we work to secure more vaccines in our region.

If you are eligible under the new vaccination groups, click on the sector below to find out how you can set up an appointment and to determine the type of identification needed at the time of your appointment.


NOTE: On March 15th, 2021, individuals 16-64 with qualifying underlying health conditions will be the next group eligible for vaccination, pending vaccine supply. To read more about vaccination phases and to determine your eligibility, click here. Para español, haga clic aquí.
Health Equity: Increasing Access
As part of my continued effort to ensure the hardest hit communities of District 1 are prioritized, I want to provide you with a quick update on some of the programs being implemented to ensure that vaccine distribution is being done equitably.

EXPANSION OF 2-1-1: After providing feedback to County staff about the need to invest in helping our seniors struggling to secure vaccine appointments, due to language and technology barriers, the 2-1-1 system was expanded on January 22nd, 2021. Since then, close to 5,000 appointments have been made, 655 clients indicated they were a homebound senior and were placed on an interest list, and there was an increased use of 2-1-1 by South County communities.

VACCINATION LOCATIONS: I am proud that we continue to strengthen our infrastructure in our South region, and now have 7 Vaccination Sites including one Superstation in Chula Vista.

Additionally, last week we started piloting no appointments/walk ups at our Chula Vista Superstation and at our Otay Mesa Vaccination Site at Border View Family YMCA, restricted to eligible populations in nearby zip codes. While this site remained closed this weekend due to vaccine shortage, it will reopen this Tuesday, March 9, 2021, and will be the first walk up site in the County. People who live or work in the following zip codes will be able to be vaccinated at the Otay Mesa location with no appointment required:
PROJECT SAVE: Through collaboration with my office, the County launched Project SAVE (Scheduling Assistance for Vaccine Equity), a pilot project directing community partners with promotora/community health worker models to support eligible, higher-risk individuals with access to vaccines in their communities.

The county has set aside a portion of vaccine appointments at four pilot sites in South Bay and the promotoras have been contacting 65 and older residents at grocery stores, faith centers, food distribution sites, and senior complexes in South Bay and securing appointments. Participating partners include: South Bay Community Services, Casa Familiar, PCI and more.

Having run the largest promotora program in the west coast in my former capacity as a healthcare executive, I know first hand the impact this type of program can have when people are receiving messages from trusted messengers. I'm excited this program is making great strides in the South Bay and look forward to expanding it countywide, should there be a need.
Vaccine Testimonials
Two weekends ago, I stopped by the South Bay Superstation in Chula Vista and had the opportunity to see the wonderful work the health care workers and volunteers were doing to ensure everyone receiving vaccines felt safe and comfortable. I had a chance to speak to several people and was happy to hear they had a positive experience. Click on the video above to hear my conversation with Rosa, an employee from Northgate Market.

If you fall under the eligible tiers and are looking to make an appointment, visit www.VaccinationSuperstationSD.com. All County vaccination superstations and PODs (except for Otay Mesa) require appointments.

If you are 65 and older and do not have access to a computer or someone to assist you, dial 2-1-1, the County's resource line, for appointment assistance.
COVID-19 RESOURCES
Vaccine FAQS

COVID-19 updates are constantly changing, therefore my team and I created a one-stop file where you can review answers to frequently asked questions regarding the vaccine. To access the answers to the FAQ in English click here.

Para acceder a las respuestas de preguntas frecuentes en español, haga clic aquí.

COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance

This week the County of San Diego reopened the applications for their COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Applications may be submitted starting March 2, 2021 and will. remain open through March 16, 2021.

For more information click here.
Vaccines For Preteens And Teens

All boys and girls need three vaccines at ages 11-12 to protect against serious diseases. Preteens and teens should also get a yearly flu vaccine, as well as any vaccines they missed when they were younger.

For more information visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents or click here for information in English. Click here for information in Spanish.
CHAMPIONING TRANSFORMATIVE POLICIES
A Sustainable Initiative To
Uplift Boys And Men Of Color
Earlier this week, I was proud to introduce a Sustainable Initiative to Uplift Boys and Men of Color before the Board of Supervisors. The initiative is in honor of all those young boys and incarcerated young men I have met along my path and whose stories often go unheard.

The Board letter co-authored with Chair Nathan Fletcher, will provide guidance to the County of San Diego as the entity responsible for the well-being and safety of its residents, to prioritize removing unnecessary barriers and work with community stakeholders to develop an initiative that will bring together wrap around services and trauma support systems for the most “at-risk” students and their parents/legal guardians.

The intent of the initiative includes: 
  • Targeting the most “at-risk” students, including those participating in free/reduced lunch programs, and their legal guardians to support them in accessing healthy food, housing, job training, tutoring assistance, mental health counseling, and related case management that impact the overall well-being and development of young boys and adults.
  • Partnering with community to develop and integrate a workforce development program targeting youth and young adults. This program should focus on youth and incarcerated young adults including components centered on obtaining education (GED or higher education), employment, housing, and further case management.

I look forward to working with the Office of Equity and Racial Justice and community members to break down the school to prison pipeline and provide an equitable and sustainable approach to address issues facing young boys and men of color.
South Bay Equity And
Economic Recovery Task Force
With South Bay communities being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, an equitable recovery that benefits all communities calls for a collaborative approach to address disparities. I am proud to announce that together with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, I launched the South Bay Equity and Economic Recovery Task Force. This working group will work as a unified voice for the region to advocate for equity and help create a holistic roadmap that ensures all our communities are healthier and stronger.

The group is comprised of community leaders including elected officials, educators, business and community organizations, faith leaders, organized labor, binational partners, and more.
COMMUNITY NEWS
Celebrating International Womyn's Month
In celebration of Read Across America and Womyn's History Month, it was an honor to join Girl Scout troops #5912 from San Ysidro for a chance to share a piece by Yosimar Reyes titled, “A Poem So That The Weight Of This Country Does Not Crush You”. 

The poem conveys the challenges immigrant and bilingual communities face and reiterates our support for our future leaders. At the end of our call, we shared a touching discussion. Listening to a new generation of young women who want to change their communities for the better filled me with optimism. Click on the video above to hear my discussion with Girl Scout troops #5912.
District 1 Equity SHEro Awards
In celebration of Womyn's History Month, I am proud to launch our District 1 Equity SHEro Awards.

I invite you to nominate a colleague, friend, mentor, etc. and join me in recognizing amazing womyn who live, work, or have made an impact in District 1 in the following categories: Community, Nonprofit, Health, Business, Youth, Environment, Organized Labor, Education, STEAM, Sports or other.

Nominations must be submitted by March 20th, 2021.

Submit your nominations here.
Be A Hero Campaign
Who are you a hero for? Last month we launched our #BeAHero campaign to express the importance of getting vaccinated when it's your turn. Whether you get the vaccine for your family, coworkers, or community we want you to know your health is our top priority.

To show your support join us by pledging to vaccinate when it’s your turn and snapping a photo with one of our downloadable posters. Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @supnoravargas

Follow us on social media
The Office of Vice Chair Nora Vargas