LOS ANGELES — On Tuesday morning in Harvard Heights, a vaccination clinic took place at a community center.
For 66-year-old Tomasa Morales Jimenez, going to the clinic was a no-brainer.
What You Need To Know
- A new vaccination strategy will bring doses to churches, grocery stores and parks
- Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged an additional $33 million in funding for community-based organizations working to expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine
- Statewide efforts will include canvassing, phone and text banking, at-home vaccinations and transportation
- Only 35% of eligible Los Angeles County residents are fully vaccinated
“It was only a 10-minute drive for me because I live in Koreatown,” said Morales in Spanish.
At 66, she has been eligible for a vaccine for months, but a combination of travel and illness meant she waited until now to get vaccinated. She might have waited even longer if this mobile clinic, presented by Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas in partnership with CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CHA HPMC) and the Southern California Eye Institute (SCEI), wasn’t a walk-up
"It’s hard to make the appointments and to get on the internet," she said. "They say to do it through the computer, but elderly people like [me] don’t know how to do it."
Inside the post vaccine observation area is 65-year-old Donny Legans, who has also been eligible since January but felt like he was healthy and didn’t need the vaccine — that is, until his family got sick.
"My daughter got it, and my wife had it the last three weeks," he said.
Legans was at last convinced to get the shot, but what he hadn’t nailed down was the logistics.
“I probably would have had to wait another week, but I’m glad you were open for me today,” said Legans, who drove by the pop-up clinic. Once he saw it, it was just too convenient to pass up.
"This was just right there, and I said, 'Wow, this is a good opportunity for me to do it right now.'"
That's the COVID-19 vaccination strategy going forward, explained City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas: Don’t wait for people to come to the vaccination centers. Take the vaccines to the people.
"We need to do it regularly, from sports venues to houses of worship to institutions of higher learning," he said. "Grocery stores and the like, wherever people are congregating, we should have vaccination centers."
To help with the process, Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged an additional $33 million in funding for community-based organizations working to expand access to the vaccine. Statewide efforts will include canvassing, phone and text banking, at-home vaccinations and transportation.
We can’t slow down, added Ridley-Thomas. After all, only 35% of eligible LA County residents are fully vaccinated.
"It is not over," he said. "It is not done. Therefore, we cannot put our guard down."
Legans now knows that firsthand.
"This is a life-and-death thing," he said. "If you care for your family and your livelihood and people around you, you should get vaccinated today."
"I didn’t even feel it," said Morales after receiving her dose. The experience, she added, was also painless.
EDITOR’S NOTE: After the story was first published, we added a detail that the mobile clinic in Harvard Heights is presented by Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas in partnership with CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and the Southern California Eye Institute. (May 5, 2021)