Disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates seen throughout Berkeley

Infographic depicting Berkeley vaccination rates by zip code
Christina Owen/Staff

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The city of Berkeley is experiencing wide disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates, with the discrepancies being seen through comparisons made between ZIP codes.

Alameda County opened up vaccination eligibility April 9, allowing all adults ages 16 and older to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a previous article from The Daily Californian. The city has been working with partners and a volunteer outreach team to get residents vaccinated.

Despite this, many city residents have not yet received their first shot.

More than 99% of residents in the ZIP code 94707, which includes North Berkeley, have received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to the California Open Data Portal. In contrast, only about 40% of residents in the ZIP code 94704 have received at least one COVID-19 shot. Within this last area is Southside, Berkeley, which houses many campus students.

The same data set also reveals about 64% of Berkeley Hills residents, 79% of residents in the ZIP code 94702 and 69% of residents in the ZIP code 94703 have received at least one COVID-19 shot. Both of the latter ZIP codes are located within Central Berkeley.

City spokesperson Matthai Chakko said in an email that North and East Berkeley have higher elderly populations. Elderly people were among the first groups to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. To address the disparities, the city has created vaccination centers in South and West Berkeley, Chakko added.

“We’ve created more than a dozen small, mobile clinics to vaccinate community members in neighborhood environments that may be easier to access or where they may feel more comfortable,” Chakko said in the email. “These clinics have been coordinated with community groups that serve target populations, including people who are Black, Latinx, homeless or who suffer from disabilities.”

Campus spokesperson Tami Cate said in an email that much of the work now is to educate people about the benefits of the vaccine. They also aim to reach “vaccine hesitant” communities.

Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine has been slowing down, which is likely a result of the coming finals week for students, according to Cate. Campus is encouraging students to get vaccinated now, especially if they plan on traveling, Cate added.

“We will continue to get some vaccine in over the summer and also plan to have larger vaccine clinics at the start of the semester for those returning to campus that may still need a vaccine,” Cate said in the email.

According to an email from the campus Division of Student Affairs, students can get a COVID-19 vaccine from University Health Services, or UHS, via a drop-in or appointment for May 12 and May 13. Appointments can be made on eTang.

Students who have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine outside of UHS are encouraged to submit their vaccination records to eTang, Cate noted in the email.

Contact Karen Vo at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @karenvo_DC.