WALLINGFORD — When Spanish Community of Wallingford officials received news of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine stoppage just hours before their scheduled distribution clinic Tuesday, it took just a few calls to the health department to switch to the Moderna vaccine without having to delay the clinic.
After more than 6.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines were administered, federal officials issued a pause on distribution over safety concerns after reports of six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FDA are reviewing the cases of blood clotting in women who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In an effort to reach underserved communities, SCOW was able to vaccinate 104 people at Tuesday’s pop-up clinic.
Adriana Rodriguez, SCOW executive director, collaborated with various partners to assist with vaccination outreach among the Latino communities.
“We were delighted with the opportunity to partner with the Wallingford Health Department to hold a pop-up clinic at SCOW,” Rodriguez said. “We understand the various challenges many face when scheduling a vaccination appointment. For many, there are additional factors that discourage them from continuing with the scheduling process. Some examples being the language barrier, nonexistent technology skills, transportation and uncertainty. At SCOW, we have been working very hard in collaboration with our partner agencies to provide awareness, outreach and education.”
Erick Morales, of Wallingford, encourages others to make an appointment as soon as possible. Morales said he puts his trust in science and is not worried about the vaccine.
“Problems are inevitable in operations so large scale. Six cases considering millions of people is only a small sample size. I did not let anything anyone say affect me. There have been millions of doses given out already, and everyone seems fine,” he said.
SCOW’s vaccine clinic included bilingual volunteers serving as interpreters, youth volunteers that explained what to expect, an outdoor seating area and a separate check-in area.
“This vaccine clinic brought many great opportunities for our youth as well as the adults getting the vaccine. Our students from our youth leadership program, ¡Adelante! America, jumped at the opportunity to volunteer during their spring break.,” said ¡Adelante! America Program Coordinator Daisy Lopez. “They did it not only because of the community service requirement at school, but because many of them have an interest in pursuing degrees and jobs in the health field, so this clinic gave them the chance to see firsthand what that entails.
“We love to instill that sense of community to our students and there is no better way of doing that, than by giving back and volunteering,” Lopez added.
Vaccine appointments were scheduled by phone.
“A lot of clients were calling in to receive help to schedule appointments. We started off with that list and called our clients that were interested in a vaccine. We were able to fill the spots within two hours,” Lopez said.
Leticia Mendoza Aguirre, of Wallingford, said she decided to get vaccinated in the interest of her own health and to do her part in ending the pandemic.
“We have been hearing so much about secondary reactions, but I decided everything was for my own good and that’s why I got vaccinated. If no one gets vaccinated, this will never end,” she said.
Free face masks were provided with additional COVID-19 vaccine information pamphlets. Those who received their vaccine had the opportunity to take a photo with a cutout that said “I got vaccinated.”
After getting the vaccine, participants went to a separate, 15-minute waiting area to ensure there was no allergic reaction or immediate side effects.
Wallingford resident Jose Medina, who works at Ulbrich Steel, said he could not get his appointment at first, but Rodriguez at SCOW helped sign him up.
“At the beginning, I was hesitant because the vaccine came out of nowhere. I saw everyone get the vaccine including my wife and my son. I decided to follow along. Every precaution helps,” he said.
SCOW will be holding the next pop-up clinic for the second shot on May 11. For additional information, contact SCOW at 203-265-5866.