EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors voted to send a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom Tuesday, February 23, regarding the Board’s discontent with the inequity in the vaccine distribution allotment to Imperial County. The Board’s letter also demanded an increase, similar to other previous letters the Board has sent.
Additionally, the Board voted to address the community regarding the County’s efforts and progress to secure additional vaccine doses. The press release will include a link where community members may sign an online petition to show the State and Governor Newsom of the inequity throughout the Valley.
According to County CEO Tony Rohoutas, Imperial County has received approximately 19,500 first and second doses of the vaccine, as of February 11.
Imperial County Public Health Director Janette Angulo addressed the Board during her weekly update, and informed the Board of the weekly pending number of vaccine doses that have been allotted to the County. Pending for this week is 3,770 vaccine doses, which is the most Imperial County has received in a single shipment. The reason for this, according to Angulo, is because more individuals are being considered as the County moves through the tiers of vaccination.
Despite the nearly doubled allotment for this week, the Board expressed concerns regarding the County’s inequity in receiving vaccine despite multiple efforts to address the governor.
The letter states, “As one of the hardest hit counties in this country by COVID-19, we are writing to demand an increased allocation of vaccines for Imperial County.”
The letter addressed Newsom’s claims to equity regarding vaccine allocation throughout the State. However, the Board feels the County’s needs are not being met.
“As stated in our previous correspondence that we sent last month pleading for additional vaccines, the equity and distribution of the vaccine does not seem to meet the needs of Imperial County, nor your expressed original intent of prioritizing communities hardest hit by this pandemic,” the letter stated.
Supervisor Jesus Escobar voiced concerns for the farm labor sector as Imperial County is currently experiencing its busy season.
Beginning this week, COVID-19 vaccines will be available to additional sectors in Phase 1B, Tier 1 — including high-risk individuals working in education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture. Public Health officials are working directly with employers in the sectors to provide vaccination date and location information to those who qualify.
According to Angulo, the County is working on a phased, prioritized sector vaccination plan to move through the different sectors to ensure the vaccine is distributed responsibly.
The letter states, “Please recognize Imperial County as a county that has an opportunity to assist a region with extreme circumstances that can be corrected in short term with the appropriate vaccine allocation.”