Community partners have teamed up to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines.
In North County, Tri-City Medical Center, the city of Oceanside and San Diego County hosted a “pop-up” vaccine clinic to target key communities that may have been less likely to get vaccinated because of socioeconomic barriers.
“As we start to see the rise in COVID, once again in our communities, we’re seeing them in pockets, and particularly in areas where the vaccination rate is lower,” said Gene Ma, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Tri-City Medical Center. “Those are the vulnerable communities that we really feel the need to get out, and not only provide the service in their communities, but education helps break down some of those barriers.”
The first pop-up vaccine clinic was hosted Thursday at the Crown Heights Community Resource Center, near Oceanside High School. Organizers said the event was done in conjunction with the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Week of Action or WOA to improve vaccination distribution in areas that have low rates.
Healthcare workers administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires a single shot. “It’s considered a one and done, so you do not need to come back. You’re set. Have a COVID-free life,” said a nurse administering the vaccine to Thomas Trier, of Oceanside.
Ma told NBC 7 that Tri-City Medical Center is working with the city of Oceanside and San Diego County to identify which communities may be less likely to get vaccinated.
According to county data, North Coastal communities are still behind in the percentage of the population who’ve received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 61% of people in the North Coastal region have received at least one dose compared to 85% in South County.
Ma said Tri-City Medical has been working on vaccinating more people for months. Their staff has done door-to-door visits to home-bound seniors, increased distribution in their medical clinics and now have decided to expand pop-up vaccine clinics. Their outreach appeared to work Thursday afternoon.
“I saw that you can get your COVID-19 shot, so I said, ‘Hey may as well get vaccinated’. The reason [I didn’t get vaccinated] before is because I’m really busy and I didn’t have enough time to get over to the appointment to get my shot done, that’s really the reason why,” Trier said.
Ma said other pop-up clinics are planned in Vista and Carlsbad next.