To boost vaccination rates, the San Mateo County Health Department is partnering with a range of community organizations, ranging from churches to a soccer club.
The county is working with these groups to host “pop-up” vaccine clinics to vaccinate smaller pockets of people.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, a community non-profit organization with youth-focused programs, recently hosted a pop-up clinic at their East Palo Alto clubhouse in partnership with the county health department and the city of East Palo Alto.
East Palo Alto has had some of the lowest vaccination rates in the county, as 66 percent of the population 10 and older have been vaccinated so far. Countywide, 87 percent of residents 12 years and older have been vaccinated.
James Harris, senior director of operations at the Boys and Girls Clubs, said their June 25 vaccine event went well.
“Many of the people who came did not drive, so they were able to just walk within their community and get vaccinated,” Harris said.
Harris said they spent two weeks before the event walking around the community, handing out flyers and sharing on social media to get the word out.
In the end, they vaccinated 53 people that Friday and will hold a second-dose vaccine clinic sometime around July 22.
The Boys and Girls Clubs are also focused on vaccinating youth and their families. On Thursday, they held a vaccination event in partnership with the Stanford Children’s Health Teen Van, a mobile clinic providing services for youths.
Harris said that while all their staff are vaccinated, they estimate that about 40 to 50 percent of their teens are vaccinated.
“So we want to give an opportunity for not only them (the teens) though but also their families, so they can pass the word on to get their family to come out,” Harris said. “That’s really why we’re doing it. We want to make sure that we get as many of the folks within our surrounding communities vaccinated and safe.”
Bay Cities FC, a grassroots soccer club formed this year, also offered vaccinations at their community appreciation event June 19 at Sequoia High School.
Don Kianian, Bay Cities FC’s marketing and digital lead, said that the event was their way of bringing the community together. Ivan Martinez, community engagement lead, thought it would be a great opportunity for vaccinations and coordinated with local officials to prepare the vaccination station.
“We offered it (the vaccine) to anyone who attended our event,” Kianian said. “We just wanted to create more opportunities for people to start getting back to normal life as we as we used to have it.”
Kianian said they plan to host more community events, with the possibility of additional vaccination opportunities.
Places of worship are also becoming places of vaccination.
In addition to the various churches where vaccinations took place, a vaccine clinic was held Friday at the Fiji Jamaat Ul Islam of America mosque in South San Francisco.
The clinics are not limited to San Mateo County residents. Anyone showing up can get vaccinated, according to Preston Merchant, a San Mateo County Health Department spokesperson.
Merchant said the county is planning a Youth Vaccine Week from July 18 to 24, in partnership with youth leaders and the San Mateo County Office of Education.
The goal is to get as many youth fully vaccinated before the new school year begins in the fall.
Youth Vaccine Week will feature a youth podcast, town hall and a social media campaign. It ends with a youth-hosted vaccine clinic at the San Mateo Medical Center parking lot July 24, where there will also be drawings for prizes donated by the San Francisco Giants.
San Mateo County continues to hold regular clinics across the county and a full vaccine clinic calendar is available online at https://www.smchealth.org/vaccine-clinic-calendar.
Merchant also encouraged any community groups interested in hosting a pop-up vaccination event for 25 or more people to sign up via the county’s online form at https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=Nfb6DU2gzEin422hrwiD-S6Nu8Fm05tAlD6PWRPnVIxUMUhXVkU3ODBEWjJYV0pZRkhDWlgxSUI5TCQlQCN0PWcu.