Santa Clara County on Tuesday opened a COVID-19 vaccination site at Emmanuel Baptist Church in East San Jose in an effort to further reach communities hit hardest by the virus.
The church, located in the heart of one of the most impacted ZIP codes in San Jose, has served as a testing site, administering more than 40,000 COVID-19 tests since fall. Now, in partnership with the county, it will also operate as a walk-in vaccination clinic Tuesday through Friday.
Emmanuel is in ZIP code 95127 where approximately 1 in 10 residents have contracted COVID-19. It is among the five ZIP codes with the highest number of cases, recording 6,789 cases as of last week, according to county officials.
The church also has strong ties with African American community, which has experienced a disproportionate number of COVID-19 deaths throughout the pandemic, officials said. Black residents represent nearly 3% of the COVID-19 deaths in the county, though they comprise just 2.4% of the population. Yet many remain skeptical about the vaccine.
The new site, officials said, will help the county advance its efforts in vaccinating African American and Latinx communities.
“I’m so thankful that we get a chance to be a light in this dark time, and to be a space where people can come and get help,” Pastor Jason Reynolds said.
The walk-in clinic will start administering 100 to 200 vaccine doses this week, with the goal to reach 500 doses a day, officials said. Vaccination hours are 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The church is at 467 North White Road in San Jose.
“This site will be a critical part of our multifaceted strategies to reach the communities that are hardest hit and have the most difficulties in accessing health care,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, associate chief medical officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.
The site will also consider taking appointments in following weeks to ensure equitable access, Tong said. Residents who don’t have access to the internet may call 211 for assistance.
Residents 65 and older and health care workers are eligible for vaccinations under the county’s current tier. Frontline workers, including those in education, emergency services and the food and agriculture industries, can schedule appointments starting Feb. 28.
According to county data, more than 267,000 Santa Clara County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. More than 109,000 people have been fully vaccinated as of Feb. 23.
Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said last month the county’s goal is to vaccinate 85% of its eligible population with both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by Aug. 1.