A Saturday clinic hosted at the Escalon Community Center, March 6, in addition to a special program for San Joaquin County school employees saw thousands of local residents receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
A few hundred were able to take advantage of the weekend event in Escalon, said City Manager Tammy Alcantor.
Public announcement of the March 6 clinic at the Escalon Community Center wasn’t made until Friday, though several people eligible for the vaccine had been contacted by the county previously, Alcantor added.
“We did 365 doses,” she explained, noting that the county worked with HR Support to get the required medical personnel in place to administer the vaccines. “The city provided volunteers to assist. It was not a drive-thru, it was indoors.”
Social distancing and other safety protocols were followed and the police department was also on hand to assist. Longtime senior volunteer Dave Willis with the police department helped those from Heritage House attending the clinic get back and forth across busy Escalon Avenue/Escalon-Bellota Road to access the Community Center.
“It was the first time we have had a COVID vaccination clinic here,” Alcantor said of using the city’s Community Center as a vaccine site.
Those in Phase 1A and 1B, food and agriculture workers to those in child care, education and emergency services workers, were eligible as were those 65 and older, those in long-term care residences and health care workers.
“There will be a follow up,” Alcantor said, with the county reaching out to those that will need to return for a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine when it comes back to Escalon later this month.
Meanwhile, San Joaquin County Office of Education officials report that 13,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered at the SJCOE Vaccine Clinics, featuring mass vaccination of school employees from public, charter, and private schools.
The vaccines were administered at seven clinics from Feb. 19 through March 3 hosted by the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) to vaccinate teachers and other K-12 school employees from all public, charter, and private schools in San Joaquin County.
The vaccination of school employees removes a significant barrier to schools as they seek to re-introduce or expand in-person instruction.
“This is a game-changer. We want all students and teachers back in the classroom, and this is a path toward that goal,” San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas said. “Vaccinating school employees doesn’t just help protect students, teachers, custodians, office workers, and all other educational staff. It also protects the loved ones and families of our students and staff and benefits the wider community.”
The vaccine clinics were possible through authorization from San Joaquin County Public Health Services (SJCPHS) for the SJCOE to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The SJCOE, school leaders from across the county, and SJCPHS coordinated to administer vaccine to school staff.
School staff members were invited to register for an appointment using information provided by their employers. The software developed by the SJCOE’s CodeStack department managed appointments and was used to create a paperless process that efficiently managed up to approximately 400 vaccinations per hour at its peak. The same system automatically scheduled appointments for second doses three weeks later.
School nurses, health aides, and other health care professionals from schools across the county administered vaccine and performed other medical functions at the clinics. First responders from local organizations were present as a precaution during post-vaccination observation. Along each step of the way through the vaccination process, dozens of SJCOE employees provided direction, information, and assistance.
“This is a vaccine clinic for educators that was operated by educators. We are all driven by a shared passion to do what is best for our students,” said Jane Steinkamp, SJCOE Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services and chairperson of the SJCOE Vaccination Distribution Task Force. “It has been inspiring to hear from so many educators eager to return safely to classrooms and get back to in-person learning.”