As a health plan that serves marginalized and under-resourced communities, L.A. Care has been advocating for health equity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The disproportionate impact of the virus on Black and Brown communities has been well documented, and many people experiencing homelessness are members of these communities. Unfortunately, California’s current COVID-19 age-based vaccine prioritization doesn’t consider the fact that many experiencing homelessness are at higher risk, even if they are under 65.
Last week, L.A. Care joined a group of more than 50 high profile homeless service providers, advocates and other stakeholders in signing a letter urging the state to move to away from age-based prioritization for people experiencing homelessness. Instead, site-based vaccine delivery would be a much better strategy. Homeless shelters and encampments, like nursing homes, are high-risk residential settings. People living in certain settings, and those working with the individuals living there, should be given priority for the COVID-19 vaccine. This strategy and approach could then be customized based on the availability of a single dose vaccine.
L.A. Care supports policies that can help decrease the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable communities, and a site-based strategy for vaccinating people experiencing homelessness and the frontline workers who serve them would do just that.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.3 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.