The callous indifference for Pinal County’s most at-risk communities for contacting COVID-19 was exhibited by a recent 3-2 vote by the board of supervisors against accepting a federal $3.4 million grant to help mitigate the spread of the disease and its lethal variants. By refusing to vote for the grant money, the board of supervisors effectively told our rural under-served communities — Native-American, African-American, the disabled, Hispanic, LBGTQ and other neighbors — that their access to health care and information simply is not a priority.
Obtaining the grant funds is supported by the Pinal County Health and Services director, Dr. Tascha Spears, and would address the health care needs that our under-served communities face now; and provide vital resources necessary to address them in the future.
Pinal County’s community resources are stretched thin by multiple wildfires, monsoon flooding and the continued battle against COVID-19 and its variants. With that and the recent explosion of COVID infection rates, school administrators are finding it difficult to open schools safely and business owners are facing the possibility of reduced hours of operation. Without more resources, our families and neighbors feel more vulnerable and left behind.
One of the principles identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee on immunization recommend that “vaccine distribution be organized to mitigate health inequalities.” Health equity is a value that all Arizonans share regardless of what ZIP code they live in or what political party they ascribe to. It’s about providing care equitably to lift up communities for the betterment of all people in Pinal County. By understanding that not all communities have the same resources and socioeconomic means, it’s about the fair distribution of resources that gives everyone the opportunity to live in a safe and healthy community.
The board of supervisors should step up for people over politics and reconsider their decision and vote to accept the grant funds. As citizens of Pinal County you can let your supervisor know with your pen and voice that you want to lift others up, so we all can rise, and live in a safe and healthy community together.
Editor's note: Lisa Sanor is the new chair of Pinal County Democrats.