IEHP Launches Campaigns to Increase Vaccine Rates in the Inland Empire
To address the low COVID-19 vaccination rates in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) has organized a series of educational campaigns, community partnerships and stakeholder collaborations to provide access and educational support to unvaccinated residents.
According to state data, Black and Hispanic communities and Medi-Cal Members rank among the lowest in vaccination rates in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In addition, case rates for COVID-19 positive patients in the region continue to dramatically fluctuate, posing ongoing uncertainty and risk.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is the most ‘certainty’ we’ve had in fighting this virus,” said Dr. Takashi Wada, IEHP Chief Medical Officer. “While it is possible to be vaccinated and still contract the virus, data shows the vaccine has been incredibly effective in reducing the impacts of the virus, thus reducing hospitalizations and deaths. That’s why receiving the vaccine is so critical.”
Since the roll out of the vaccine, IEHP has participated in several pop-up vaccine events, including a partnership with Loma Linda University Health (LLUH) and SAC Health System (SACHS), to organize a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church (St. Paul AME) in San Bernardino, a prominent place of worship for the county’s Black Community.
With additional funding coming from the state Medi-Cal COVID-19 Vaccination Incentive Program, IEHP will continue to develop partnerships with the counties, community-based organizations, schools and churches to get innovate and craft additional actions to improve vaccination rates. IEHP will also be developing an incentive program to encourage IEHP network providers to increase the rates of COVID vaccination.
“We understand the fears of those who chose to remain unvaccinated, and we want to empower these individuals by meeting them in familiar spaces, equipping them with facts, information and opportunities to receive their vaccine,” added Wada. “Familiarity and trust are a large part of making that decision, and we’re grateful to partner with community leaders and organizations to continue building that trust.”
Last month, IEHP also partnered with sister plan L.A. Care to launch an educational campaign with the help of award-winning actor Jaime Camil, known for his work on The CW’s Jane the Virgin and Disney’s Coco. The effort included Instagram Live events, PSAs and billboards that will run in the weeks to come.
“In addition to battling the pandemic, we’re also battling a bit of an info-demic,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP Chief Executive Officer. “Providing our communities with factual, honest information about the vaccine in a way that relates to them personally, can make all the difference. Health care is incredibly personal, and we’re grateful to work with such an esteemed group of partners to ensure that our most vulnerable residents are equipped with all they need to enjoy optimal care and vibrant health.”
The health plan will continue to serve San Bernardino County as a super vaccination site, hosting a clinic in their Rancho Cucamonga headquarters, with plans to expand operations with additional community health partners in the near future. To learn more, visit sbcovid19.com/vaccine.