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Opinion: "Here’s How We Can Create a More Equitable Vaccination System"

The San Diego Union-Tribune published a commentary by Tram-Elayne Nguyen, a UCLA Fielding School of Public Health MPH student in the Department of Community Health Sciences, on the need to help elderly non-English speakers get vaccinated

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Tram-Elayne Nguyen is a second year MPH student in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health's Department of Community Health Sciences.

Last month, during one of my routine Sunday calls with my elderly immigrant parents, I learned that they didn’t know they were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. My parents asked me a list of questions, including: Where can we get the vaccine? What if our doctor doesn’t have it yet? And how do we schedule an appointment? They proceeded to ask me to schedule them an appointment.

While I would have loved to help them, I had a difficult time answering their questions since we live in different counties and appointment procedures differ across counties. After a thorough search and scrounging of the San Diego County public health website, I had some answers, but was unable to book them an appointment due to limited availability.

As a child of immigrants, I am well-versed at helping my parents navigate health systems; however, this experience is much more difficult. I found that even though my parents are now eligible to be vaccinated, the process to actually receive the vaccine is complex and troublesome. Unfortunately, stories like mine are not uncommon for immigrant seniors looking to be vaccinated.