Wednesday’s community health fair and COVID-19 vaccine distribution at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in Mountain View gave hope to some San Diegans.
Some of the residents who experienced loss due to the coronavirus shared with NBC 7 why getting their vaccine was so meaningful to them.
"All of my family got vaccinated, especially after having a lot of deaths in my family," Kianna Palacios said.
Palacios, 19, said getting her COVID-19 vaccine was an emotional experience after losing her grandfather to the virus.
"My grandpa had recently, you know, [died], and it really did have a big toll in my family because that's one of the main people with an impact in our lives," Palacios said.
Palacios was among the hundreds who attended the Community Health and Resource Fair at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA.
"Consider protecting yourself and your family," said Dr. Suzanne Affalo. "Get vaccinated and let's try and open up San Diego."
The event was hosted by the Many Shades of Pink Foundation and A Healthier Me, in partnership with the Multicultural Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Thrive, Scripps Health and Concorde Career College. The organizations put together a one-stop shop for people to get their COVID-19 vaccine or get tested, and also have their blood pressure checked and get a mammogram.
"I'm a six-year breast cancer survivor, and I'm out in the community, so once I realized I'm serving without being protected, I realized I had to protect not just myself but the public," Wendy Shurelds said.
Shurelds admitted that at first she was hesitant to get the vaccine, but after learning more, she made the decision and hopes opportunities like this will motivate others.
"We are encouraging everybody in the community -- especially the underserved and people of color -- to get vaccinated," Shurelds said.
This event is key for helping San Diego County reopen, since the state metrics that got the county to the orange tier and can propel it to the yellow tier include ensuring the COVID-19 vaccine is administered to those most impacted by the virus.
"We're just needing to find appointments, because people are blowing up our phones, e-mails and texts, and they just want appointments," Affalo said. "So the goal is to vaccinate until we have our entire black and brown community vaccinated."
There will be another community health fair at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA on May 5. Organizers plan to continue providing COVID-19 testing, vaccines and other health resources.