STOCKTON, Calif. — After contracting COVID-19 at a Halloween gathering, Isaac and Mandi Basulto wanted to make sure they were clear of the disease at a testing site at Edison High School in Stockton.
"It's like a fish-out-of-water kind of feeling. Yeah, your lungs are shot you know," Isaac said.
Both he and his wife are Latino, essential workers, and believe they should be prioritized when the vaccine becomes available.
"It would benefit us to do it, to get the tests first or quicker, because we're always out there in the public," Mandi said.
And the numbers, unfortunately, back them up. While 40% of the state's population is Latino, they disproportionately make up nearly 50% of the overall COVID deaths.
African-Americans account for 6.5% of the state's population, but 7.4% of deaths.
"Many of them are working on the front lines in the service industry, in the healthcare industry, providing services to those of us who try to stay protected from COVID. So, they're running the risk of exposure so we can stay safe," Jose Rodriguez, president and CEO of El Concilio, said.
Along with healthcare workers, other essential workers, those in nursing homes, and people with chronic issues are prioritized under the state's vaccination plan that follows the CDC's recommended approach.
When it comes to minorities, health experts say it's not just a matter of reaching out to minority communities for vaccinations, but to build trust with them, too.
"[There are] several factors [as to why this is]. One is historical distrust of government because abuses have happened in the past," said Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UC Davis.
How soon might a vaccine be available?
"We do not know. We've been told it could be as early as mid-December, but it's definitely going to depend on the FDA approval," Sacramento County Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said.
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