Gov. Newsom: ‘Cultural Competency’ Needed for Coronavirus Vaccine Campaign to Work in California

Gov. Newsom: ‘Cultural Competency’ Needed for Coronavirus
Vaccine Campaign to Work in California 1

Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference on Tuesday on the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in the state that “cultural competency” is  necessary to make the vaccination campaign a success.

Newsom unveiled the campaign to vaccinate people in all 58 counties in the state. He said:

That’s why we started this “Vaccinate all 58” campaign, recognizing that all Californians needed to be included in this vaccination process and that we can’t leave folks behind. We talk in terms of equity; we talk in terms of inclusion. We often advance our values but we have to make them real and we also have to make them visible … throughout our diverse community.

Newsom said “campaign assets” would be distributed to every county tailored to the “unique characteristics of each and every county in the state.”

Newsom talked about the “guiding principles” of the vaccination campaign.

“The campaign has guiding principles and, not surprisingly, these principles have been well-described in the past, but these are important to remind you of today,” Newsom said. “It’s a focus on diversity.”

“It’s a focus to acknowledge that cultural competency when it relates to vaccinations has not always been made visible,” Newsom said. “Particularly in the Native American communities and the African American community.”

“That is why we want to acknowledge that fundamental lived experience,” Newsom said. 

Newsom said the state needs to do a better job in partnering with diverse communities and faith leaders and called from a “bottom up, not top down” approach in advancing the campaign.

Newsom said the campaign will not only provide people information about how to access the vaccine but that it would be provided at no cost. And it would educate people about the safety of the vaccine.

The governor compared the vaccine rollout to conducting the 2020 Census during the pandemic and said lessons were learned on how to “meet people where they are.”

“I will remind everybody that this state is the most diverse state in the world’s most diverse democracy,” Newsom said. “Twenty seven percent of our state are foreign born and so it is incumbent that we meet people where they are.”

“So we will begin by connecting with Californians in 13 different languages — again with the constant drumbeat of efficacy and safety, cultural competency,” Newsom said. “Bottom up — again — not top down.”

Newsom also said in his remarks that guidelines for the vaccination campaign would be “truly inclusive” without further explanation.

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