SACRAMENTO—This morning, Assemblymember Akilah Weber, MD (D-San Diego), presented her first bill, AB 1207, since taking office as the 79th Assembly District representative. AB 1207 establishes the “Pathway through Pandemics Task Force,” which will collect and analyze California’s COVID-19 data and develop a response plan for future pandemics.
“I am happy to join my legislative colleagues in the push for these long-overdue updates to our current public health processes,” says Assemblymember Weber. “I worked in the hospitals throughout the pandemic, and I witnessed the real lives of people affected by COVID-19. The next pandemic is not a matter of ‘if,’ it is a matter of ‘when.’ I want to ensure we do everything we can to invest in sustainable plans that value the life and health of all Californians during a pandemic.”
California’s response to the pandemic highlighted existing inequities for people of color and low-income neighborhoods. COVID-19 testing sites and vaccine availability were scarce for communities of color. These same neighborhoods experienced the highest unemployment rates, ultimately decreasing their health overall from the stress of the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic ripped through our communities of color and exacerbated every systemic injustice they face each day, especially access to healthcare,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley). “I am glad to have partnered with Dr. Akilah Weber on AB 1207, and I look forward to establishing a roadmap for future pandemic responses that keeps health equity in mind.”
One of the Taskforce’s main objectives will be to examine the health care disparities that exist for people of color and recommend how best to address them. The Taskforce requires at least three members to be an ethnic minority to ensure adequate representation. The members must also have experience with health equity.
“AB 1207 makes a modest investment to ensure California has a roadmap for future public health crises.” Assemblymember Weber states. “We need a thorough understanding of the effects so that we can address the deficiencies we saw in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
AB 1207 has received bipartisan support, and will now move forward to the Senate.
Asssemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D. was elected April 2021 to represent California's 79th Assembly District, which includes parts of Southeast San Diego, Bonita, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and National City. Website of Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D: www.a79.asmdc.org