FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – United Health Centers continued its vaccine distribution effort at Central High School in Fresno, administering 500 doses on Monday.
“It was even busier this morning than it was Friday for us,” said Blake Carpenter, the director of operations at the site.
Those 75 years and older were eligible. Sylvia Esquivel brought her mom to receive the first dose of the vaccine and said she felt relieved.
“We’ve been keeping family away. We’re very family-oriented, so it’s been really hard for my mother. She misses all her grandchildren,” Esquivel said.
Central High School falls in Councilmember Esmeralda Soria’s district. She said the partnership with United Health Centers has been key for testing throughout the pandemic, and now with vaccine distribution.
“We were able to advocate early on to have a site at Central High School because west of [Highway] 99, there aren’t a lot of resources and amenities for our community,” Soria said.
United Health Centers serves many rural and under-represented communities in the Central Valley. Many residents who received the first dose Monday were Latinos.
Enrique Quintanilla got his first dose Monday. He said he contracted the virus in August but thankfully didn’t suffer serious health complications.
The site at Central High has an observation area after residents receive the vaccine, and while Quintanilla waited, he said he felt perfectly fine.
“I’m happy,” he said. “I hope I don’t get this sickness again.”
Latinos have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in California. According to state data published Jan. 13, Latinos make up nearly 39% of the state’s population but make up 55% of COVID-19 cases and 46.5% of COVID-19-related deaths in the state.
“I think having access and making sure that they have the ability to get a vaccine this early on is really important,” Councilmember Soria said.
United Health Centers will continue administering the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Central High School. Appointments are not required but are strongly encouraged.