As crowds gathered to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the South Bay Wednesday, there was a sense of joy and relief as getting a COVID-19 vaccination was part of the festivities.
The Santa Clara County Public Health Department says it didn’t really want to see large public gatherings, but also saw an opportunity to reach out to what has been a reluctant community -- setting up a pop-up clinic in the middle of the Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Mi Pueblo Plaza on Story and King Road in San Jose.
“We just want to make it easy, we’re here, we’re in their neighborhood,” said Dr. Rocio Luna, Santa Clara County Deputy County Executive. “They know this is a trusting place that they can trust. They can walk over. We’re just trying to make it easy for folks.”
Lines started forming almost as soon as the clinic opened and some people said they knew they had waited or stalled long enough and saw this as their chance.
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“I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. I told my mom to take it because she’s obviously at a vulnerable age,” said Gerardo Alvarez of San Jose. “So I decided I have to prove to her that it’s safe.”
The Mexican Heritage Plaza welcomed the nearby pop-up clinic.
“Yes this is a holiday. And if we’re gonna celebrate this holiday come next year, come five years from now,” said Jessica Paz Cedillos, Mexican Heritage Plaza executive. “And we’re going to want to do it with our loved ones and family members. It’s important that we recognize that we’re nowhere near out of the woods.”
The pop-up clinic said that the Cinco de Mayo turnout was very good and public health officials say they hope it leads to more cooperation community-wide after this celebration ends.