COVID-19 vaccination site opens for transgender community in Orange County

Coronavirus

A mobile COVID-19 vaccination pod has opened in Orange County to ensure those in the transgender and gender-nonconforming community get protected against the coronavirus.

Alianza Translatinx, a Santa Ana-based transgender-led organization, is working to inoculate trans people with the COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with the O.C. Health Care Agency.

Roughly 250 people from the transgender community received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when the mobile clinic opened Sunday.

Organizers say it’s crucial for people in the transgender community to access the vaccine from affirming spaces, since they often experience discrimination in the health care system.

“For the transgender community, there’s a lot more hesitation because of all the discrimination that we go through and all the barriers that we encounter,” said Khloe Rios-Wyatt, executive director of Alianza Translatinx. “As a transgender woman, I can tell you that going into a clinic, it’s already very difficult, challenging and scary.”

Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the O.C. Health Care Agency, said he hopes the site can serve as an example for other local governments to work with their transgender communities.

“We realized that early on there’s the issue of vaccine hesitancy, especially in a community that historically been marginalized and so we want to ensure that people in the trans community have access to the vaccine,” Chau said.

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