'It means hope': 1,100 low-income seniors, caregivers get COVID-19 vaccine in East Palo Alto

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds of people lined up Saturday for the chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine on the Peninsula. The free clinic provided the shot to low-income seniors and caregivers in a community largely underserved.

83-year-old Clara Jackson just got vaccinated, so did Rose Jacobs-Gibson, at long last.

"I'm feeling good about it, feeling good that it's finally available and I had the privilege of taking it," said Gibson.

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Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto hosted the clinic, after securing 1,100 Moderna vaccine doses from San Mateo County for local seniors.

"We have 1,800 of our patients who are 65 or older, others have been waiting for a while so we opened it up to neighbors who are not our patients," said Natalie Hodgdon at Ravenswood Family Health Center.

The line outside was long. Caregivers and healthcare workers were also invited to get the shot.

Brenda Triplett brought her mom Derothy.

"As safe as we try to be, having the vaccine gives us more assurance, very relieving to know that it's done," said Triplett.

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"H-O-P-E. it means hope," said East Palo Alto Mayor Carlos Romero.

Romero says that hope is coming to this largely underserved community.

"This is an issue of equity and social justice and economic justice. We are providing free vaccination to people who do not have access to health insurance," Romero said

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"When you look at our senior population hit hard with no access to internet... to have this moment when they can be vaccinated, it's historic," said East Palo Alto City Council member Antonio Lopez.

Clinic organizers hoped to have enough vaccine for everyone.

"We would be ok running out, it means we were able to vaccinate eleven hundred people today," said Hodgdon.

Those vaccinated Saturday will return on Feb. 27 for their second shot. The health center plans more vaccine clinics in the future.

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