GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Linda Pham is one step closer to seeing her family again.
As the 74-year-old grandmother sits patiently, she says she has missed all the holidays, birthdays, and family get-togethers for the last 10 months because she was socially distancing.
She even had to spend her birthday alone.
“It’s been so long since I’ve been able to see or hug my grandchildren. I miss them and my kids. I felt so lonely during the holidays. All I want is for the pandemic to end and for me to get vaccinated so I can see them again,” said Pham.
So when her health clinic told her that it had a COVID-19 vaccine dose ready for her, but she had to be there the next day, Pham agreed right away. She said she couldn’t sleep the night before in anticipation.
Tricia Nguyen is the CEO of Southland Integrated Services in Garden Grove.
“We literally put in an order and they said we’re going to get it on Tuesday. Once we get it on Tuesday, all of us are scrambling to call our patients to come in on Wednesday. Today we’re going to spend our time calling patients for tomorrow,” said Nguyen.
A group of Vietnamese refugees opened Southland Integrated Services in 1979 after the fall of Saigon. It had a different name then.
Nguyen said she asked the board to change the group’s name in 2017 to be more inclusive, since the provider helped ethnic groups other than Vietnamese people. Through her leadership, Nguyen helped the organization gain its federally qualified status.
That status allowed her clinic to get its hands on doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines. Nguyen said her team vaccinated other health care providers and clinics in the area to protect them as they help other patients.
“So it’s always like doing the math. Like, OK we have 390 and about 100 coming back for the second dose. It’s always calculating math,” said Nguyen.
The clinic is currently only vaccinating its older patients with appointments at this time and isn’t ready to fully publicize the fact that it has a small number of doses, in case it attracts more patients than it can handle. It's hoping that with a new presidential administration, more doses from the federal government will be given to individual counties.
As for Linda Pham, she’s thankful for her shot in the arm. Her next dose in three weeks will be another step closer to hugging her grandchildren again.
For more information, please visit: southlandintegrated.org