Protect your community: Meet Dr. Erica Pan
“I see this as a vaccine-preventable disease.” – Dr. Erica Pan, California Magazine
Erica Pan is California’s state epidemiologist, leading its vaccination efforts. Dr. Pan was elevated to the role in 2020 after serving as Alameda County’s health officer. She received her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.
With California seeing just over 3.6 million COVID-19 cases and 59,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, it’s important for residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves from serious illness and help stop the spread to others in the state.
To date California has made great progress in flattening the curve and keeping COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations down. Nearly half of adults in the state have received at least one vaccine shot. However, the virus and its variants continue to circulate, threatening the progress Californians have made.
This is especially true for many Asian communities, which have suffered a disproportionately high case rate across the country. For example, people who identify as Asian make up over 10% of the COVID-19 deaths in California.
Important reasons to get vaccinated
Several factors put California’s population – including Asian communities – at higher risk for becoming infected with COVID-19.
These may include:
- Living in a multigenerational home
- Being an essential worker
- Difficulty accessing health care, often due to discrimination
- Language barriers
The State of California is working to help remove some of these barriers to getting vaccinated. For example, the My Turn website is available in 12 languages, including English, Tagalog, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Khmer, and Punjabi. Also, translation services are available in more than 250 language for the California COVID-19 Hotline. The hotline can be reached at (833) 422-4255 and is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
By letting our guard down, Californians risk another surge, says Dr. Pan in an opinion piece written for The Mercury News. “If every adult gets vaccinated when it is their turn, continues to wear a mask in public, washes hands, and watches their distance, it will help us reach the end of the pandemic sooner and return to the life we miss.”
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