From North Coast Journal: What specific policies or procedures have the vaccine task force or Humboldt County Public Health put in place to overcome vaccination barriers within the Latinx community?

Hi Humboldt. Again this is Lindsey Mendez and to respond to North Coast Journal, I would like to start with saying that in an emergency response, which we are right now performing during the pandemic and doing vaccinations, we are always trying to do a check and balance system in the public health department to ensure that we are vaccinating with equity and that we are using the right methods and the right partnerships to accomplish this goal. We are currently using meetings and quality improvement tools and looking internally and allowing our partners externally to discuss with us how we are performing and how we can do better right now and in the future.

From North Coast Journal: What groups or organizations have Public Health and the vaccine task force consulted with to plan vaccination outreach and education efforts with the Latinx community specifically?

The Public Health Department has been utilizing many relationships that we have in the community and we’ve been doing listening sessions along with planning sessions with groups such as Paso a Paso, the Promotores, True North, we’ve been working with the St. Joseph’s community outreach groups and many other partners like Open Door and Mad River. With that said, the efforts that we’ve been taking have also gone into the EOC side where we’ve been hiring and using personnel and volunteers who can assist us in our clinics so that we can achieve both biological speaking and cultural competency.

From North Coast Journal: There have been reports in other areas of the state where immigrants and undocumented residents needed to provide proof of eligibility in the form of a state-issued ID or social security card for a vaccine, have there been any situations like these in our county? Can you clarify what people need to bring for their vaccination appointment if anything?

I am not aware of any issues in Humboldt County in which somebody was unable to get a vaccine due to documentation. Citizenship status is not requested and we encourage anyone who is eligible to get a vaccine to do so right now. We are asking for any kind of photo ID, such as a Costco card, to show that the person who made the appointment is the person who is coming for the vaccination. With that said, as we move into using MyTurn in Humboldt County, there will be a website that will guide you through how to make the appointment, what makes you eligible and also what you will need to bring to your appointment.

From Redheaded Blackbelt: Many local businesses are now making decisions about re-opening and, in the process, taking inventory of staff vaccination levels. Is it appropriate for a business owner to require staff who work directly with the public to be vaccinated as a condition for reemployment?

In the state of California and in this county, there is no requirement to have a vaccination for employment. We would encourage anybody who is eligible to get the vaccine because we know that this is a life-saving vaccine and that as we move through our lives of opening up and having more commerce, we would like to protect as many people in the population as possible.

From North Coast News: Are there ever leftover vaccines at any vaccine sites in Humboldt? Some counties allow for people to line up and wait for the overflow and try and get a vaccine on a first-come first-serve basis. Does Humboldt do that?

Right now Humboldt is not having people wait for extra doses outside of clinics because logistically that can become very difficult. What we are doing though is utilizing a policy that we have in place through our Joint Information Center to ensure that we are calling persons who are eligible for the vaccine so that they can receive the extra doses. We do not waste doses in Humboldt County.