A pharmacist prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo via Steven Cornfield/Unsplash)

Santa Clara County has opened a vaccination site at Emmanuel Baptist Church in East San Jose on Tuesday in an effort to reach those disproportionally impacted by COVID-19.

The church on North White Road sits in one of the county’s hardest-hit ZIP codes, where approximately 1 out of 10 residents have contracted COVID-19 and the county’s African American community has experienced a disproportionate number of COVID-19 deaths.

The church will operate as a walk-in site with the capacity to vaccinate 500 people per day.

And because it serves as a COVID-19 testing center, the church already has the operational know-how and established partnership with the county, making it easier to start providing vaccines, according to Dr. Jennifer Tong, associate chief medical officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

The new site is part of the county’s effort to get vaccines in the arms of those most impacted by COVID-19. Those efforts include establishing a wide variety of vaccination sites in hard-hit ZIP codes, working with community organizations and door-to-door canvassing to provide vaccine information in various languages.

More than 50 percent of county residents 65 or older have been vaccinated so far, but that number is much lower for the disproportionately affected Latinx population.

Of the roughly 160,000 vaccinated residents 65 years and older, Latinx people make up about 14,000 or 8 percent, according to the county’s dashboard. However, Latinx people make up 51 percent of COVID-19 cases and 28 percent of deaths, and only 25 percent of the population.

“I’m so thankful that we get a chance to be a light in this dark time, and to be a space where people can come and get help,” Pastor Jason Reynolds, the church’s senior pastor said.

The site will start vaccinating 100-200 people daily this week, with hopes to build up to its 500-vaccine daily capacity. The church will open for vaccinations Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It currently only accepts walk-ins but may switch to require appointments for vaccinations.

To learn more about the vaccine, find vaccination sites or make an appointment, people can visit sccfreevax.org or call 211.