Vaccine equity has been a critical issue in the race to vaccinate throughout the state.
In the Bay Area, Facebook has stepped in and partnered with community organizations from underserved communities to vaccinate those who need it most.
More than 1,200 people from surrounding underserved communities came to the tech giant’s Menlo Park campus for their shots Saturday.
The visit was particularly exciting for Luisa Buado and her team from Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto.
Throughout the pandemic, she has worked to provide access to covid testing, and now vaccinations, to underserved communities and now, she gets some help from Facebook.
“We have to improve equity, we have barrier free vaccine clinics. We make sure they meet the eligibility requirements which have now all been waived except you have to be 18 or older,” Buado said.
The vaccination site at Facebook particularly serves three nearby communities, which are East Palo Alto, and the communities of North Fair Oaks and Belle Haven.
According to census data, the neighborhood of belle haven in Menlo Park reported 52% of COVID-19 cases in the city, prompting its leaders to take action.
“It is extremely important to do a bottom up approach when it comes to vaccines, to make sure that people who want one have access to it,” said Menlo Park Councilmember Cecilia Taylor.
Starting this Saturday and continuing on to every Saturday of the month, Facebook opens their doors to vaccinate a goal of 10,000 people.
They are even offering shuttle service to their campus from nearby neighborhoods.
“We want to make sure that the immunity rate in these often-high density living situations where people are living in apartments and multifamily households – that they can get the vaccines to protect themselves,” Buado said.
A big sense of relief is what Menlo Park resident Noah Reidy felt after receiving his one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He said his visit was a turning point for him as he had not seen his mother in almost two years.
“I feel very relieved because at home I have a 94-year-old mom and I was very worried about bringing something home to her,” he said. “It feels amazing. My mom’s actually on the phone. The whole purpose is to feel safe traveling again and go see her. I can’t wait to see her.”
Facebook’s vaccination site is a walk-up site. The only requirements are you must be 18 years or older and either work or live in San Mateo County.