Teens turn out for pop-up COVID vaccination clinic in Roseland

DoorDash gift cards and a $20 coupon from Sonoma County for two tacos and a drink were an added incentive to get vaccinated against COVID-19 on Saturday.|

Araceli Virrueta, 17, waited awhile before she got her COVID-19 vaccine.

“I was afraid it would hurt,” she said Saturday at the Santa Rosa Community Health pop-up vaccine clinic after getting her first of two inoculations. “I wanted to get it, but the last time I got a shot — not the vaccine — it really hurt and (the nurse) didn’t tell me it would. But I got convinced.”

By whom? “Everybody,” she said. “My mom was always telling me I should get it.”

And luckily, this shot “didn’t hurt at all,” she said while waiting to make sure she had no adverse reactions. Her brother, 15, still has to get his, she said.

Virrueta, who lives in Santa Rosa, said her friend, Miriam Solorio, 16, told her about the clinic targeting youth 12 and over at the Roseland Library. Solorio said her mother, who works at Proclean Services dry cleaning and laundry, was told she had to get a vaccine. And Solorio decided she wanted to get one, too, before school starts later in August.

And there were two special incentives — gift cards donated by DoorDash and a $20 coupon from Sonoma County for two tacos and a drink at a food truck waiting outside.

The special clinic, held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., almost didn’t happen, said clinic supervisor Teresita Madrigal. The power went out at the library, other businesses and about 500 homes in the Sebastopol Road area at about 2 p.m.

“So we moved everything outside, and then the power came back on, so we moved everything back in,” Madrigal said. “That’s like a symptom of COVID, it keeps changing and you have to adapt.”

People of all ages, some who spoke Spanish but not English, were greeted at two tables at the entrance, where they could pick up literature about health topics. Masks were required. Then they walked to where tables were set up, each with a nurse ready to give them either a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot. After that, they moved to an observation area where a nurse gave them a timer set for 15 minutes unless they had underlying symptoms such as allergies. Then patients had to wait 30 minutes.

A few dozen people had turned out by 5:30 p.m. for the clinic, which had 100 gift cards to give away. Clinic workers filmed a video to post on social media to get more people out at about 5 p.m.

Heather Mavunga, a traveling nurse from Indiana, was observing and also handing out the free DoorDash cards.

“I’m hoping they download and sign up and actually redeem it,” she said of the cards.

This will be the last pop-up vaccination clinic at the Roseland location. Santa Rosa Community Health is moving the administration of the inoculations to its eight clinics countywide where patients get their primary care.

Now that the demand has dropped, with 70% of the eligible Sonoma County population vaccinated, the medical group is shifting resources back to permanent clinics, or health centers, to reach remaining hesitant patients, said Annemarie Brown, director of communications.

“We’re in a new phase of trying to get people vaccinated,” she said. “If they haven’t gotten vaccinated by now, they have questions. So it’s good to have their primary doctors address them.”

The quickly spreading delta variant added to the urgency of the shift of services, Brown said.

The clinic at the Roseland Library will stay open, operated by Cheryl Fox and Associates, a wellness care management program.

Alexander Reyes Cardona, 13, of Rohnert Park, was accompanied by his sister, Isabella, 17, and his father, Robert, who both had already been vaccinated. He was getting his second shot.

“I wanted to come to the clinic so I could do more stuff with my friends without having to wear a mask,” Cardona said, with the recorded music of Fantasias playing in the background. “I feel safe to be with other kids.”

“It’s good to take all the precautions we can,” his dad added.

You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at kathleen.coates@pressdemocrat.com.

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