GILROY, Calif. (KRON) — A new vaccination site in one of Santa Clara County’s areas hardest-hit by COVID-19 is now open for county residents aged 65 and older.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez joined Gilroy community leaders to open up the newest pop-up vaccination clinic at the Gilroy Senior Center Wednesday.
“One of the things to remember about the county is that the county isn’t one place, it’s all of us, and I think by coming out it shows two things,” said Chavez.
“One that we recognize that not everybody can get to San Jose or Kaiser in San Jose, but that it recognizes that we have to take the services where people are,” Chavez added.
“I think it demonstrates a very sincere respect for the communities that we serve.”
For the next two weeks, county residents 65 and older can come to the Gilroy Senior Center every Wednesday and get vaccinated.
The center is located at 7371 Hanna Street in Gilroy.
With the help of the Gilroy Fire Department, about 100 local residents were able to get their vaccine on the first day of the site opening.
“We got an email that they were giving out vaccinations here,” said longtime Gilroy resident Ron Arvizu.
“For us and for everybody that’s here, everybody that’s gotten one, I think it’s a step in the right direction to someday get back to some normalcy.”
Some residents like Arvizu tell KRON4 News it took them more than one attempt to try and get vaccinated before finally getting vaccinated at the senior center.
The new pop-up vaccination site will be easier to get to for residents living in Gilroy, where more than 6,800 cases of covid have been reported, over having to travel further to Santa Clara for the mass vaccination site at Levi’s Stadium.
“You gotta be a little bit patient under the circumstances, I mean, no one has ever dealt in my lifetime with a pandemic,” said Arvizu.
“The process is understandable if it’s a little bit slow but it’s pretty extraordinary the way they got it set up and I think they’re doing very well.”
More vaccination sites are in the process of opening up in the area — with a few set to open up this week and others later this month.
“Roughly like a pop-up site like today we’re going to do about 200 people, sometimes a little bit more, sometimes a little bit less,” said Gilroy Fire Chief Jim Wyatt.
“The veterans hall this Friday we are planning on doing about 100, I believe Gardner Health is going to do about another 200,” Wyatt added.
These pop-up sites are specifically aimed to target and vaccinate residents living Gilroy who are 65 and older — a population of about 5,600 according to Wyatt.
“We have a lot of work to do and that’s the reason why we are trying to reach out as much as we can to the seniors right now before the next tier starts to come in for people below 65,” said Watt.
In addition, the fire department will be teaming up with the county Public Health Department to use retired mobile ambulances to bring vaccines to farm workers and residents living in harder-to-reach areas.
“We do have a large influx of farm workers who come back to Gilroy from Yuma, Arizona, and Texas in May,” said Gilroy City Council Member Rebeca Armendariz.
“And so partnering with the school districts, partnering with Gardner Health Clinics, of course the county, and our local firefighters, we believe we can reach that population when they get here and make sure they’re vaccinated.”