SAN JOSE (KPIX) – While Santa Clara County has hit a significant vaccination milestone with 75% of the population receiving at least one dose, the areas hardest hit by the virus continue to vary widely.
This contrast was no stronger than in two parishes – one in East San Jose and the other in the hills of Palo Alto.
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According to the state vaccination rate, zip code 94304 in the hills above Palo Alto has achieved an effective vaccination rate of 100%. Slightly less than 86% of residents are fully vaccinated and the rest have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“They made it easy to get vaccinated in this area. There were many different places to go, ”explained resident Celeste Birkhofer. She says easy access is part of the story.
She also believes that a high level of education, higher median income, and a basic belief in science led her community to adopt the vaccine.
“I think many people who live in Palo Alto have the opportunity to take time off from work and get vaccinated,” said Birkhofer.
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The success of areas like the Palo Alto Hills masks the struggles of other neighborhoods within the county. In East San Jose, the zip code 95127 has the dubious difference that it has one of the highest infection rates and the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
“Access was a key issue. Because of this, we see a lot of pop-up sites specifically here in East San Jose. They have also adjusted their hours to be open outside of working hours, ”said Omar Rodriguez, Mexico’s Heritage Plaza Marketing Director in San Jose.
Public health officials became increasingly creative – using small, trusted health clinics for vaccination sites, relocating mobile sites to affected areas, and even partnering with local professional athletes from the San Jose earthquake – to connect with the hardest-hit communities.
But a few months after the vaccine was launched, a simple but undeniable truth remains: even now, some of the hardest hit and most vulnerable communities affected by this virus have protection from leases.
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“We’re bringing the vaccines to the community. We go door to door to sign people up for appointments. We have popup sites. We meet people where they are, but we also need the help of the community, ”said Dr. Marty Window Glass from the Santa Clara County Public Department.