Vaccine clinic in San Ysidro breaks down barriers

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Posted at 4:25 PM, Apr 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-17 23:33:11-04

SAN YSIDRO, Calif. (KGTV) - A one-day clinic at San Ysidro Middle School gave 700 people their first shot of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19.

The clinic, run by Family Health Centers of San Diego and the San Diego Latino Equity Council, was explicitly designed to break down barriers that have traditionally kept minorities from getting vaccinated.

"The more barriers we break down, the easier it's going to be for people to get the vaccination," says San Diego City Councilmember Vivian Moreno, whose district includes San Ysidro.

Moreno says language, poor internet access, and vaccine hesitancy are the main barriers to vaccines in her community.

Moreno and a team of volunteers went door to door throughout the week to fight those barriers, signing people up for an appointment. Doing that meant they didn't have to navigate the often-complicated online registration websites.

Organizers also set up a bi-lingual phone line where people could call in to get an appointment.

They decided to use appointments instead of making the clinic a walk-up, first-come-first-serve event so people wouldn't have to wait in line for hours.

"It's breaking down all the barriers possible," Moreno says. "Going to their door and saying, hey, it's here, it's up the street. It's almost service at your door, if you will, right?"

Meanwhile, holding the event at the middle school and using nurses from the local school district made people more comfortable than going somewhere else.

"Many patients, many individuals in the community, are reluctant to go and seek out where to get the vaccine," says Janet Adamian, who ran the clinic for FHCSD. "So when we come to the communities, we want to let them know that they don't have to wait to schedule the appointment. We're here to serve them."

Adamian hopes events like these will make people less hesitant to get their vaccine if they see their family, friends, and neighbors got one.

"We know that as more people get vaccinated, they go an tell their family members, their neighbors, their friends, and so more people are interested in getting the vaccine," she says.

Saturday's event will be paired with a follow-up clinic 28 days later to ensure everyone who attended can also get their second Moderna shot on time.