As many as 100 patients of Clínica Monseñor Romero’s Boyle Heights location are expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19 Saturday, the organization said this week.
The one-day clinic will be limited to the health provider’s patients who are 75 years of age or older. In a press release, Clínica Romero confirmed it had received a first shipment of 100 Moderna vaccines from the L.A. County Department of Public Health this week and on Tuesday began sending text and voice messages to patients who are at a higher-risk for COVID-19, to schedule appointments.
The clinic’s Boyle Heights location on Marengo Street, across the street from LAC + USC Medical Center, serves patients from downtown Los Angeles and Eastside communities, including Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and East Los Angeles.
Saturday’s is the first vaccination clinic to be held in Boyle Heights –one of Los Angeles’ neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic. It is only open to current patients, but Clínica Romero said it hopes to offer additional vaccination clinics for the community in the coming weeks, as more vaccines become available and accessible.
“The number of members of our community and staff who have been infected with COVID-19 is concerning and disheartening, said Carlos Vaquerano, executive director at Clínica Monseñor Oscar Romero, in the release. “At this time, we are concerned about the lack of equity in the rollout and distribution of vaccines in the communities we serve, where the spread of the virus is particularly high. We need more vaccines to bring relief.”
A nonprofit and Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving communities that are the epicenter of the COVID pandemic in Los Angeles County, Clínica Romero offers critical health care services to a largely undocumented Spanish-speaking Latino and indigenous population from southern Mexico and Central America.
According to the clinic’s providers, since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Clínica patients have demonstrated a consistent COVID positivity rate at 40% – a number significantly higher than that of L.A. County’s 16% – which has exposed many of its frontline workers and patients to the deadly virus.
“Although, at this time our capacity to offer further vaccine clinics is limited, we hope to do more for our community given the need,” said Vaquerano. In the meantime, we continue to do our best to provide essential health care services and information about COVID testing and vaccines to patients. There is still much we need to do to properly inform our community about the danger of this virus and the vaccine’s importance. Today’s clinic is a start – and it’s huge.”