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October 26, 2021

Gonzales earns praise for 95% vaccination rate

City is among first in county to reach vaccine milestone

GONZALES — Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) is praising the City of Gonzales for reaching a 95% vaccination rate with more than 6,600 people in the community eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine receiving at least one dose. 

The County of Monterey has reached 81% of people 12 and older who have received at least one dose as of Sept. 27. 

Gonzales began its Community Health Workers (CHW) program in November 2020 and became a partner in the VIDA (Virus Integrated Distribution of Aid) CHW program that began in January 2021. 

More than 110 CHWs in 10 organizations countywide were trained as part of the program and are equipped to deliver information about the importance of Covid-19 testing and vaccinations, in addition to assisting community members with access to resources. Gonzales is the only city participating in the program. 

Gonzales was proactive in getting its Emergency Medical Technicians certified to administer the Covid-19 vaccine, along with creating partnerships with the Gonzales Pharmacy, the Alliance on Aging and Hartnell Community College. The city has hosted more than 20 mass vaccine clinics since February 2021, with city firefighters, Hartnell nursing students and the Gonzales Pharmacy helping to inoculate residents.

Certified CHWs provide Covid-19 testing, help the Gonzales community find vaccine sites, supply information to residents about the vaccines, help answer questions and assist with registration at the vaccine clinics. CHWs also offer resources on mental health, testing and housing for individuals who test positive.

“We are grateful for the support of the VIDA program and congratulate the City of Gonzales for reaching 95% vaccination rate,” said Dan Baldwin, CFMC president/CEO. “This is a testament to the strong commitment of the City and its residents during a challenging time.”

The VIDA Project is funded by the County of Monterey in partnership with the CFMC. The goal of the program is to reach residents most impacted by the pandemic and provide outreach, education and wraparound support to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and promote full recovery by ensuring adequate isolation and quarantine support. 

Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved $4.9 million for the project and granted the money to the CFMC to coordinate funding and leadership for the community-based organizations to implement the program. The program is also supported by a $300,000 grant from Together Toward Health, a program of the Public Health Institute, through funding from a group of philanthropic organizations, and funds from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

The City of Gonzales is one of many Monterey County communities making significant inroads in their vaccination efforts.

The 93905 zip code, which corresponds to the East Salinas neighborhood, once accounted for an estimated 20% of Covid-19 cases in the county. That zip code neighborhood recently reached the 90% milestone thanks to support from the Community Health Workers.

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