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New COVID Education Campaign to Focus on LGBTQ+ Californians

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Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia addresses people at one of the city's vaccine clinics. Long Beach has a large LGBTQ+ community. (City of Long Beach)
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia addresses people at one of the city's vaccine clinics. Long Beach has a large LGBTQ+ community. (City of Long Beach)
 By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA - Producer, Contact
March 3, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO - The pandemic has had devastating impacts on the LGBTQ+ community, so the 1 million-member Equality California has launched a bilingual, statewide education and outreach campaign.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the idea is to make sure people know when and where to get the vaccine, and also to promote the science that shows the new coronavirus vaccines are safe and highly effective.

Rick Chavez Zbur, executive director of Equality California, said COVID-19 has taken a toll on the health and well-being of many in the LGBTQ+ community.

"And that's particularly true for the most vulnerable members of our community," he said, "transgender and gender non-conforming people, LGBTQ+ people of color and immigrants and people living with HIV or other pre-existing conditions."

The latest study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found the LGBTQ+ population is more vulnerable to COVID, in part because it also has higher rates of underlying health conditions, including cancer and HIV.

Last fall, researchers at UCLA surveyed more than 12,000 American adults on the impact of the pandemic. Study coauthor Kerith Conron, research director at the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute, said the numbers show COVID-19 especially has been prevalent among non-white LGBTQ+ people.

"LGBT people of color were more likely to be positive," she said, "about twice as likely as non-LGBT white people."

Last spring, the Equality Institute launched a telephone help line at 323-448-1026 and an online help center at Covid19.eqca.org to link people to employment services, food assistance, culturally competent health-care providers and testing centers. The bilingual portion of the site will be launched in the coming weeks.

Disclosure: Equality California contributes to our fund for reporting on Census, Health Issues, HIV/AIDS Prevention, LGBTQIA Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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