Cars lined the street outside Ravenswood Middle School but there were no classes Saturday. Instead, a new COVID-19 vaccination clinic opened for East Palo Alto residents 18 and over.
East Palo Alto resident Jane Jones was ready to roll up her sleeve.
“For my job I do need it. I’m always talking to people,” she said. “I do want to get the vaccination plus the Johnson & Johnson is one and done.”
This new clinic is part of a collaborative effort to boost low vaccination rates in East Palo Alto.
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It's a community that’s seen high COVID-19 rates and is lagging behind the rest of the county in vaccinations.
“We are the first city in San Mateo County to have received permission from the equity commission to vaccinate adults 18 and over.” Councilmember Antonio Lopez said.
The rare move comes nearly two weeks before eligibility opens to everyone in the state. Lopez said it was important to expand eligibility in East Palo Alto.
“Part of the disadvantage that we face early on in the vaccination rollout was being able to vaccine our younger populations,” he said. “Yes, they are not as vulnerable due to age but due to the line of occupation.”
Lopez said the clinic should help a community sometimes hesitant to speak up. “Immigrants and folks of color often by lack of English fluency or legal status often are weary of speaking outlet alone affirm their place in line,” Lopez said. Plans to host clinics are ongoing.
The site isn’t permanent, and it may move to other locations. East Palo Alto resident Eva Arias got vaccinated Saturday and was pleased with the outcome. She said She and her husband it took time to find a place.
“Like three weeks, you been looking for three weeks, yes and he’s essential worker and he couldn’t get it either,” she said.