Walk-up COVID vaccine clinic opens in one of San Jose’s hardest-hit neighborhoods

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In an effort to create greater access to and mitigate COVID-19 disparities in San Jose’s Latino communities, a new walk-up vaccine clinic opened in one of the areas hardest-hit by the coronavirus.

Despite vaccine supply shortages looming, Gardner Health Services provided COVID-19 vaccinations to individuals who are 65 and older, workers in food, agriculture, education, childcare, caretakers and emergency services in the Alviso neighborhood on Friday. 

“The reason why this area is so important because it’s one of the most highly impacted areas, it’s also one of the long-standing communities in the area,” said Reymundo C. Espinoza, CEO of Gardner Health Services.

“This is just another effort to make sure that our people in the community are protected.” 

The COVID-19 vaccine clinic is targeting individuals in Santa Clara County’s Phase 1A and Phase 1B with a focus on the Latino community. 

As of Friday, the county is reporting its Latino population continues to make up more than 50% of the total COVID-19 cases and 28.5% of total deaths. 

“The local community is predominantly Latino, there is some gentrification occurring as you can see, but the basic community remains,” said Espinoza. “And they need the assistance and we’re trying to provide it here today.”

More than 150 community members lined up in front of the Gardner Alviso Health Center on Gold Street were told they would receive a wristband, then must return from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to receive their vaccine. 

Some community members tell KRON4 News they have waited nearly two months to finally get their first dose of the vaccine.

Translation: Spanish to English

“I was getting tested and I came out negative and I also did the antibody test and it came out negative, I have been very aware of that,” said San Jose resident Guillermina Cabezas. 

“I’ve been waiting like two months for there to be more vaccines so I can get vaccinated.”

The one-day clinic was brought together with the partnership between Gardner Health Services, Santa Clara County Public Health and San Jose District 4 Councilmember David Cohen. 

The Gardner Alviso Health Center said it received 280 vaccine doses and fully plans to vaccinate as many community members as they possibly can. 

Guillermina Cabezas receiving her first COVID-19 dose at Gardner Alviso Health Center.

“The pop-up clinics are actually going to be very crucial in getting this vaccine widely disseminated,” said Cohen. 

“This is a high COVID-hit area, this is one of the zip codes in San Jose with one of the highest rates of COVID infections, it’s a high Latino population here, definitely an area that’s been underserved in San Jose,” added Cohen. 

“My staff and the staff of Gardner went out door to door through this neighborhood and actually handed out flyers and told people this clinic was happening, that’s the way we got people to come here today.”

This week, Santa Clara County shifted from the purple tier to the red tier as Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state’s positivity rate dropped to 2.3%, weeks after the state saw a peak of over 14% over the holidays. 

The clinic plans to return in about a month to administer second doses.

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