Local Opinion: Use the COVID Model to Address Climate Threats | Local editorials and opinion


Would the vaccines arrive in time to ward off the public health onslaught? Would disadvantaged people in our communities end up facing even greater hardship with limited support? Could we stop arguing and start the vaccination?

But once vaccine shipments began across Arizona, an amazing transformation took place. The unannounced Medical Reserve Corps of Southern Arizona (MRCSA) quickly mobilized to support hospitals and clinics, bringing its coalition of community assets to the crisis.

The MRCSA is part of a national network of volunteer units in hundreds of communities. Here in Pima County, the MRCSA has stepped up to help with testing, medical surges, community screening, behavioral health, vaccination site mobilization and staffing, and disaster management. volunteers.

The MRCSA has represented a powerful community coalition during this ongoing emergency. It relied on a range of community partners who contributed everything from space for vaccination sites to recruiting volunteers to private sector support for meals and clean water.

By the end of March, approximately 80% of eligible Pima County residents had received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. The work is not finished, but we know that this coalition worked!

This extended reflection period has shown how powerful coordinated community action can and must be to capture the best results in uncertain times. The public health dimensions of climate change seem well suited for a similar effort using the MRCSA coalition model. We have already been alerted that our climate is changing faster than we can react to all the changes. Now we must plan to avoid the worst outcomes for all.


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