IMPERIAL — Masses gathered at Imperial Valley College to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at the first Mass Vaccination Clinic in the County Thursday, February 4, where approximately 1,300 individuals 65 years and older were vaccinated by appointment.
The event — hosted by the Imperial County Public Health Department, Imperial Valley College, Imperial County Office of Emergency Services, and other partner agencies — followed protective measures to safely vaccinate community members. Those who were vaccinated, were encouraged to set up appointments online or by phone to keep the event organized, fair, and safe.
Chairman of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors Michael Kelley addressed the community via Facebook Live at the site to extend his condolences to individuals who have suffered because of COVID-19.
He likened the nearly year-long battle against COVID to using hand pistols and BB guns. However, with the vaccine, he said the County can now combat the virus with heavy artillery.
According to Kelley, the event was the first of its kind in Imperial County, but not the last as the County is continuing to receive vaccine doses from the State. However, the rates at which the vaccine arrives in Imperial County is uncertain as the Public Health Department waits for updates from the State.
He thanked IVC for allowing the event to take place at its location in Imperial, saying it is centrally located, well-organized, and beautiful.
Imperial County Public Health Director Janette Angulo also addressed the community to extend her condolences and dedication to get the vaccine out to as many community members as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“We know that our community is interested in receiving their vaccine in a variety of settings, including at drive-thru clinics, and fortunately we received enough vaccine this week to make this happen,” said Angulo. “Even though 1,300 sounds like plenty, we know that there are many individuals that were unable to schedule an appointment for today’s event, and we want you to know that there will be other mass vaccination events that will be held in other parts of the County.”
All available appointments were scheduled, absorbing all 1,300 doses of the vaccine that were available at this event.
Ten vaccination tents were available with two lines of cars at each tent. The vaccination patients were given times to arrive every 15 minutes.
"Everything has gone smoothly because of the organization of the event," said Maria Pienado, Imperial County Public Health information officer. "After the vaccination, patients are to park in an adjacent area for 15 to 30 minutes to make sure they have no side effects."
“We ask for your patience as we rollout our mass vaccination efforts. Our staff is protecting our vaccine to assure that every single dose is used responsibly. We know that this is a valuable and much-needed resource for our community. Please know that none of the doses will go to waste,” said Angulo.