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Story from the Field


Name of Health Department/Agency: Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency
State: CA
Date Added: 11/21/2009
Themes: Communications - Priority Groups
Issue Summary: Vaccinating a mono-language speaking community
Description of Issue(s): Had contracted with a community vaccinator who assured us of experience and capacity to deal with spanish speaking clientele.  When it came right down to it, they provided 2 spanish-speaking nurses. Because of the scarcity of the vaccine, the need to prioritize, and the different formulations available, translation or the ability to communicate easily was essential.  Even though the contract covered these requirements, the health department supplied 20 community translators who were busy the entire clinic.  We had only 1500 doses of vaccine to give and had to turn away nearly 1000 people.
Actions taken to address the issue(s): We had spanish speakers monitoring the line which stretched for several blocks; all materials were available in english and spanish; bilingual translators were at every screening and vaccination station. We also wanted people to feel welcome and provided bottled water and a table for information on signing up for health insurance.
Outcomes that resulted from actions taken: 1500 hundred people were vaccinated in 3.5 hours; lines were orderly, people accepted and understood that limited doses were available.  Because of this evident need, we are scheduling an extra clinic at night depending on vaccine supply.  Because of the added expenses, we are rapidly running out of PHEP funding and if we experience a third wave or even a prolonged second wave, we will not have the funds to deal adequately with our responsibilities.

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