ANA\California Member and media-trained nurse, Christine Locke, BSN, RN, discusses how registered nurses can advocate for access to vaccinations for vulnerable communities in a post-pandemic world.
*For media requests or to contact Christine Locke, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in becoming a media-trained nurse? Join our waitlist.
Jared Fesler 0:14
Welcome to the Amplified RN News Show where we're turning up the volume on nursing news in California. Today, we're going to be diving into the topic of increasing vaccination equity in a post-pandemic world. We're joined by Christine Locke an ANA\California member and media trained nurse. Thank you for joining us, Christine, would you please introduce yourself and why you're an expert on this topic?
Christine Locke 0:37
Hi, there. thank you Jared for having me. My name is Christine Locke. I'm a registered nurse. I also obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and I hold a public health certification through the State of California Board of Registered Nursing. I've worked for several years now with the COVID-19 pandemic on obtaining health equity with vaccinations and our most underserved populations.
Jared Fesler 1:03
So tell us a little bit more about the problem and these equity issues. What is the extent of this issue?
Christine Locke 1:12
Well, thank you for asking me that Jared. The federal government is going to very shortly be discontinuing the federal program with COVID-19 vaccinations. Currently in Los Angeles County only 23.8% of people who are eligible to obtain vaccination have gotten that vaccination that life saving booster shot. So what I implore is that we work with the state and local government, in addition to Gavin Newsom, our governor's team to bring equity within Los Angeles County to provide those life saving vaccinations for when the federal government is going to stop providing them.
Jared Fesler 1:59
So when this cut off comes, what does that mean for communities in California?
Christine Locke 2:06
What that means is that only the vaccinations of vaccinations will only be provided for what the doses are that they have left. So, therefore, subsequent to this program, ending people will have to pay out of pocket, you know, the underinsured, the uninsured, they will have to foot the bill for the $110 - $230 per vaccination. Whereas,...
Jared Fesler 2:35
Oh, so, so this creates differing priorities is what you're trying to say for communities in California? What are they? What are the decisions people are going to have to be making?
Christine Locke 2:47
So basically, a person will be having to choose - if they're underinsured or uninsured - they're going to be having to choose between providing necessities for their family, gas, food, clothing, things like that and getting this vaccination. The ones that will be protected are the ones that are doing have health insurance and such. I'm working here in Los Angeles County, with the underserved populations, I'm deeply concerned that they won't be going out and receiving their their vaccination, their their COVID-19 Booster.
Jared Fesler 3:21
There's been some news out recently relative to pharmaceutical companies indicating that they will have programs to address this need, is this something that you're hearing? Or are you expecting existing or new programs to be created?
Christine Locke 3:36
Right, so Jared, what's happening now in Los Angeles County, is that there has been concerns raised that the pharmaceutical companies are stating that they're going to have programs in place to address you know, the financial cost the financial burden for for the person. But traditionally, those programs can be very difficult to navigate, they can be very difficult to actually obtain that funding. And that was issue that we found within our populations just during the COVID 19 pandemic and in trying to get those, get the programs get the funding get the support. It's it's a creates a greater barrier to care.
Jared Fesler 4:18
So you're saying this is something that we should already be prepared for?
Christine Locke 4:22
Yes, indeed, this is something that we should plan on coming down the line as of March 31, here in Los Angeles County of this year, they the conversation has begun, which is good, this is good news. And how are we going to prepare as a community for this? You know, this ending of the government programs, which is you know, inevitable, and the CEOs in in their, in their investor calls. As recently as you know, a couple of weeks ago, were stating that they're expecting for the second half of the year to already be providing You know, Medicare, the private insurance companies, the different government agencies, with a bill, you know, for, you know, equating to 100, you know, about $110 $230 per vaccine dose, which is just unattainable for most people.
Jared Fesler 5:17
You know, it seems like some are taking steps to mitigate this already, at least in Los Angeles County. Are you aware of other counties? Or what they might be doing? Or would you tell us about what others can do to mitigate this effect?
Christine Locke 5:33
Right. So I think at this moment in time, you know, as nurses, we are the voice of the underserved populations, and I feel like we can use that trusted voice, to go out into our communities to talk to our local representatives, to be proactive in preparation, and have some of those takeaways that we've learned throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, is that the communities need to be prepared, they need to beef up their emergency preparedness, which, you know, rightfully so that the concerns are that there's a variant that escapes this booster and drives up the cost even further have a properly prepared vaccine that can combat that. And then we're right back where we started. We're right back in an emergency.
Jared Fesler 6:31
So what are you asking nurses do today? Or what can they do?
Christine Locke 6:36
Well, I think nurses can talk to their organizations, they can talk to their community leaders, they can talk to their local representatives. And collectively, we can speak to the governor to make sure that these local health departments are getting the funding needed. Whether or not it's through a nonprofit foundation or through a grant to provide for that marginalized community.
Jared Fesler 7:05
Well, Christine Locke, thank you so much for joining us to talk about increasing vaccination equity in a post pandemic world. Such important information for nurse advocates in California to pay attention to. If you're tuning in to the Amplified RN News Show... Stay tuned. We have more episodes coming soon. We'll see in the next installment. Thanks so much.