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COVID Vaccine Mobile 'Strike Teams' Take Doses To Hard-To-Reach Seniors Of CoCo County

MARTINEZ (KPIX) -- When vaccinations began, the elderly were given top priority and it hasn't been easy getting to all of them. Contra Costa County has established mobile "strike teams" to take the vaccine to seniors and the results have been remarkable.

One of the "strike teams" arrived at the Hacienda Senior Living Complex in Martinez Wednesday morning. As they set up in the community room, the residents came down from their apartments and that is about as far as many of them can travel.

"A lot of the clients that we're servicing don't have transportation to get to the bigger mobile sites," said Elizabeth Campbell with the Contra Costa Housing Authority, one of the partners in the vaccination effort. "The staff was willing to step outside and go directly to the homes of these clients. They wouldn't be able to get the shot any other way!"

The five strike teams have only been operating for two months now and their efficiency has been astounding. So far, 35,000 people have been vaccinated, 10 percent of the county's total. Also, 100 percent of skilled nursing homes have gotten both doses, as have 86 percent of residential care facilities.

"As we got going and realized how effective we could be, we pivoted to the low-income senior housing complexes," said county Deputy Health Officer, Dr. Sara Levin.

That's what put them at Hacienda Wednesday morning. While most residents were getting their shots downstairs, nurses went door to door to those who couldn't get out of bed.

"It feels good and I'm thankful they came here instead of us going somewhere, you know?" said Guadalupe Gonzales, after getting her second dose. "I was really happy."

She was there with her son Michael, who she adopted at age 13. He is just one of eight foster children that Guadalupe has cared for and given a new shot at life. On this day, Michael was happy to return that favor.

"No one's insignificant, you know what I mean?" he said. "You never know the life that someone has lived or the things that they have done. So I think it's very important that they're first."

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