CalOptima and County of Orange hosted their final Vaccine Clinic and Resource Fair targeting low-income, hard-to-reach members on July 10 at the CalOptima office in Orange. At the event, 495 individuals were vaccinated, bringing the six-event total to 5,073 vaccines delivered from May 15–July 10. With vaccinations at the events and elsewhere, 53% of CalOptima’s membership age 12 and older is vaccinated, which equates to about 350,000 people. Additionally, the events’ Resource Fair component offered community services to meet CalOptima members’ needs.
“One of the primary motivations behind CalOptima’s resource events was to make it convenient for members to get their COVID-19 vaccine,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, Chairman of the CalOptima Board of Directors and Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “The large turnout shows that members benefit when the barriers to getting vaccinated are reduced.” Members received support over the phone in making their appointments, and those who arrived without appointments were accommodated as well. For accessibility, two of the events featured a special drive-thru lane for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder or disabilities, allowing them to get their vaccine without leaving their vehicle.
Strong response to the events was achieved through a combination of text messages, social media campaigns, messaging on the Othena and CalOptima websites, and interest in CalOptima’s Member Health Rewards. “CalOptima informed as many members as possible of the opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19,” said Richard Sanchez, CalOptima Chief Executive Officer. “The possibility of receiving a $25 health reward was an additional enticing incentive.” Members vaccinated at the events were given their health reward immediately. As of the final event, 2,339 health rewards, worth more than $58,000, were distributed. With approval of the health rewards program in January 2021, CalOptima was an early adopter of offering vaccine incentives, and many organizations — even California itself — have followed suit.
CalOptima and OC Health Care Agency (HCA) staff worked together to facilitate the events in the pop-up format, which was intended to improve health equity for CalOptima’s underserved populations. “Targeted efforts to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to the communities that need them most fits Orange County’s approach to improving health equity,” said County Health Officer, HCA Director and CalOptima Board Member Clayton Chau, M.D., Ph.D. “The pop-up clinics tie into the OC Equity Map, a data tool launched July 14 to help identify the root causes of inequities in Orange County. The map will help drive efforts by the County to develop innovative solutions to address inequality.”
Community-based organizations participated at events throughout the series to help address social determinants of health, such as food insecurity, resources for basic needs and preventative services. Orange County Social Services Agency staff assisted attendees with general inquiries and enrolling in CalFresh and Medi-Cal. Further, 2-1-1 OC engaged attendees in discussions about available community resources. At four events, Community Action Partnership’s Clementine food trolley and Tom Tom diaper bank truck served families in need of food or diapers. Finally, at the May and June events, Pacific Health and Wellness completed on-site health screenings, including thyroid ultrasounds, bone sonometries, Body Mass Index measurements and pulse oximetries.
Members who would still like to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can call their health network for guidance or sign up through Othena.com. CalOptima’s website has information and frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine as well as links to pharmacies offering the vaccine. CalOptima’s social media also posts updates on vaccination clinics organized by HCA and other partners.