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In Santa Clara County’s Latino community hit hardest by COVID, vaccine walk-up clinic opens

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) –– In an effort to vaccinate the Latino population and people of color most impacted by COVID-19, a walk-up clinic is now up and running in East San Jose for individuals 65 or older and frontline healthcare workers. 

The Mexican Heritage Plaza (MHP) is now open Tuesdays and Thursdays as a vaccine clinic in partnership with Gardner Health Services and Santa Clara County Public Health. 

“This is the second day, a lot of people here, it’s great to see that even though it’s raining they’re out here in line,” said Omar Rodriguez, Marketing Director for the School of Arts and Culture. 

“Some of the sons and daughters are coming in and getting a wristband for their parents who might be a little older and it’s harder for them to get out here.”

From 9 to 11 a.m. people can get in line out front of the MHP to receive a wristband, guaranteeing space during vaccination hours. At noon, people return to get their vaccine. 

The walk-up clinic is the county’s latest effort to create greater access and mitigate COVID-19 disparities in the predominantly Latino community. 

“The location itself being La Plaza, being almost the heart of East San Jose, people are familiar with this facility, people trust the facility here already because of the testing work that has been happening,” said Rodriguez. 

“It gives you some comfort that you can either maybe walk here and get vaccinated, get tested, and so I think it’s a trust.”

In Santa Clara County, the pandemic has hit communities of color hard but particularly Latino communities, as East San Jose continues to see cases rising. 

One of the many challenges for local government and community organizations face in stopping the spread of the virus is getting people tested. 

Rodriguez tells KRON4 News since the start of the pandemic, the MHP has changed its focus of being a cultural community hub to providing much-need assistance to its community. 

“It’s six acres, so why not utilize the facility for the needs of the community,” said Rodriguez.

“I think it’s been critical that this facility has been open to the community under different circumstances but still open to the community.”

In addition, the MHP hosts a drive-thru food distribution event every first and third Monday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., COVID-19 testing on Wednesday’s from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In order to receive a vaccine — you must show proof of age or work. 

To learn more, visit the the School of Arts & Culture website.

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