Dr. Ruiz Vaccinates Constituents at Rite Aid COVID Vaccine Clinic
COACHELLA – Constituents queuing up for a COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday were greeted by none other than Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. , CA-36, an emergency medicine physician and public health expert. Ruiz administered the COVID-19 vaccine to constituents at a Rite Aid mobile vaccine clinic hosted in conjunction with Desert Healthcare District.
The event took place at Coachella Valley High School and follows Dr. Ruiz’s advocacy for retail pharmacies to prioritize hard-hit, medically underserved communities like those in California’s 36th district.
It’s not the first time he’s been on the front lines of administering vaccines. During the summer, Dr. Ruiz administered COVID-19 tests to constituents in farmworkers and homeless communities in CA-36.
“Administering the COVID-19 vaccine to my constituents is like administering joy and hope directly into the community,” Dr. Ruiz said in a prepared statement. “I have been advocating tirelessly for more vaccines to our district as we’ve experienced disparities in vaccination rates with Hispanics in my district comprising 47% of the population and 65% of COVID-19 infections, while only 19% of the vaccines. Retail pharmacies like Rite Aid play a very important role in vaccine equity and ensuring the vaccine reaches underserved, vulnerable communities. I will continue my advocacy for more vaccines for my constituents who need them the most so that we can quickly and equitably end this pandemic.”
Since summer 2020, Dr. Ruiz has been advocating for a strategic national distribution plan to ensure that people were getting the vaccines according to need, and not simply how much money they had.
As vaccine distribution has continued increasing nationwide, the hardest hit communities in medically underserved areas have not been getting the vaccines they need. Because of this inequity in distribution, Congressman Ruiz urged the state of California, the federal government, and private companies to prioritize these areas.
Dr. Ruiz has written to CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart pharmacies urging them to prioritize hard-hit, medically underserved communities like those in California’s 36th district as they expand the number of locations offering vaccinations.
“We are thrilled to partner with Congressman Ruiz and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on their first off-site vaccination clinic,” Heyward Donigan, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Rite Aid, said in a prepared statement. “Working with Congressman Ruiz, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is a great step forward to ensuring vaccine equity in our communities. We’re eager to continue our work with local, state, and federal officials and community leaders to reach people where they live, work, play and worship, with the goal of widespread and equitable adoption of the vaccines.”
- Dr. Raul Ruiz: Dr. Raul Ruiz