San Diego County Community Health Clinics Express Need for Access to COVID-19 Vaccine

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State and federal health departments are facing criticism in getting the COVID-19 vaccine out to underserved communities. These community clinics that aim to serve low-income patients are working to get access to more COVID-19 vaccines.

“Our mission is to serve the underserved population,” said Fernando Sanudo, CEO of Vista Community Clinic.

Sanudo said he is passionate about getting their patients the COVID-19 vaccine, his motivation comes from his families personal battle with the virus.

“Unfortunately, one of my uncles passed away from COVID-19 on Christmas Eve, and then probably a few weeks later my aunt and another uncle passed away,” said Sanudo. “So it’s been a very personal story.”

For the CEO of Vista Community Clinic, he has seen the first-hand impact of the coronavirus, after losing several of his family members to the virus, he was committed to getting his 89-year-old father vaccinated.

“I was concerned for my dad, even though I am the CEO of Vista Community Clinic, there was nothing I could do to get my dad vaccinated sooner rather he had to wait his turn,” he said.

Sanudo has realized the struggle and difficulties of accessing the vaccine. It's an issue as state and federal health departments are facing criticism in getting the COVID-19 vaccine out to underserved communities.

Community clinics in San Diego have been attempting to gain as many coronavirus vaccines as possible for their patients. NBC 7's Melissa Adan has more.

At Vista Community Clinic they thank San Diego County Health officials for having received 1,800 vaccines since the start of the year and they've already given out 1,300. But, they are asking for more.

“We’re frustrated and I’m sure the county is to which when we talk about planning, it’s hard to plan when you don’t know how many doses of the vaccine you’re going to get and when you’re going to get it,” explained Sanduo.

Vista Community Clinic is working with state and federal health officials to directly receive batches of the vaccine, an effort which could help speed up vaccinating at risk communities. Something important for the patients of this clinic who often seek help here because the clinic takes in anyone regardless of insurance, immigration status or even housing.

“Unfortunately, the number of vaccines we’ve received so far isn’t enough to cover all of our patients but again we're trying to be as patient as possible,” said Sanudo.

San Diego County health officials have been issuing community clinics vaccines including sites like San Ysidro Health Center. However, they are limited in the amount of vaccines they can deliver.

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