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For Immediate Release - May 21, 2021
Contact: Communications Director Ryan K. Brown
(408) 600-5951 /

Sacramento Alliance for Vaccine Equity Launched to Break Down Digital, Language, and Cultural Barriers to Vaccine Access

Sacramento, Calif.The Sacramento Alliance for Vaccine Equity (SAVE) will be officially launched this Friday at the Sam & Bonnie Pannell Community Center, where many of its coalition members have helped to vaccinate thousands of South Sacramentans over the course of the last three months. 

Funded by a $150,000 Kaiser Permanente grant and powered by more than twentycommunity-based organizations, local governments, nonprofits, and churches, SAVE is tasked with overcoming language barriers, gaps in digital equity, and vaccine hesitancy to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine is accessible for all.

“Our South Sacramento communities – from Meadowview to Valley Hi – are some of the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Councilmember Mai Vang, who represents Sacramento’s District 8. “We face unique barriers to equitable vaccine access. A huge percentage of my constituents – our friends and neighbors – aren’t fluent in English, don’t have internet access at home, or are hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to distrust in government.SAVE is dedicated to addressing these issues through a coordinated in-language and targetedvaccination campaign throughout South Sacramento.”

Since its inception in March 2021, the Pannell Center Vaccine Clinic has administered over 13,000 vaccinations to Sacramento residents – more than 40% of whom do not speak English as their primary language.

According to the latest California Department of Public Health data, vaccination rates are increasing across South Sacramento, but at a decidedly lower rate than the rest of Sacramento County. The ZIP codes primarily served by SAVE are 95822, with 59.2% of residents having received their first dose, 95832 with 60.8%, and 95823 with 50.2%.

“We know the pandemic has shined a light on the inequities in health care access in our community,” said Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County Public Health Officer.We are working hard to break those barriers to ensure everyone has access to the care and resources they need. We are very excited to see organizations and members of our community step up to champion this effort and lead the way for a more equitable system in Sacramento County.”

Les Simmons, Senior Pastor of the South Sacramento Christian Center, has taken a leading role in organizing the campaign for vaccinations. “I’m excited to partner with our coalition to provide targeted outreach in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our collaborative group of community, faith, and government-based organizations are making history here in South Sacramento -- when public and private entities partner together with the common goal to SAVE lives, that’s the kind of momentum that ultimately makes real change.”

Nancy Xiong, Executive Director of Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP), noted that their fight against COVID-19 is both rooted in community values and deeply personal. “Earlier this year, one of HIP’s founding organizers lost her mother to COVID-19. For us, the fight to ensure that every single person in our community is vaccinated is personal. The SAVE coalition helps us get back to the celebrations and ceremonies that mean so much to our community. We are proud to stand alongside advocates throughout South Sac to protect the lives that have been impacted the most during the pandemic.”

With a major medical facility located in South Sacramento, Kaiser Permanente is extremely familiar with the unique needs of the community – and stepped up to fund the SAVE coalition through November. “Kaiser Permanente has been working to distribute COVID-19 vaccine safely and equitably to our members and the community, both at our facilities and through our partnerships at mass vaccination hubs throughout the state,” said Trish Rodriguez, Senior Vice President and Area Manager, Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento. “We are now focused on reaching people where they live and work, to broaden our vaccine outreach and serve communities that have lower vaccination rates. We are proud to partner with community-based organizations through on-site clinics to reach unvaccinated community members and those who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”

The Pannell Center Vaccine Clinic will continue to provide vaccinations every Friday. To get more information or register for an appointment, individuals can text “vaccine” to the Sacramento Vaccine Hotline at (916) 476-2225 or visit

A full list of the organizations that make up SAVE can be found at


Mai Vang was elected to a four-year term on the Sacramento City Council in 2020 and represents the city’s Eighth District, which includes the neighborhoods of Meadowview, Parkway, Valley Hi, and North Laguna.