San Benito County holds first mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic

100 senior residents receive first dose in drive-thru format.

Editor’s Note: Updated to include phone number for Lucky’s pharmacy.

San Benito County Public Health Services conducted its first drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic at 10 a.m. on Jan. 29 for 100 pre-registered residents, ages 75 and older.

Only those who registered through the county’s COVID-19 vaccination portal received shots. As of Jan. 28, over 1,700 residents ages 75 and older have completed the county’s online vaccine interest form.

A line of cars moved through two lanes outside the public health department at 351 Tres Pinos Road in Hollister, as public health employees checked registration, temperature, and asked questions about overall health. After getting vaccinated, residents were directed to park nearby to wait 15 minutes in case of any adverse reactions.

Iles Kalend, 88, arrived early to be first in line for her COVID vaccination. Photo by John Chadwell.
Iles Kalend, 88, arrived early to be first in line for her COVID vaccination. Photo by John Chadwell.

Iles “Bunny” Kalend, 88, drove to get her shot before going shopping. She said her daughter registered her for the vaccination “because I’m old and use smoke signals.” She said she has lived in San Benito County for over 50 years and that she is not worried about COVID-19.

“I’m not, as long as people mind their p’s and q’s, but people aren’t doing that,” she said. “If people had done what they were told we wouldn’t be in this position.”

David Westrick, county public information officer, said there will be other mass vaccination events in the future.

“This is just the first one we’ve done that was prioritized by age,” he said. “Once we knew vaccine would be available, they are notified by email or phone to set up their appointments.”

Public health services does not yet know when it will be able to hold another mass vaccination clinic.

“We don’t know because we don’t know about the shipments from the state,” Westrick said. “There are weekly shipments and this last week’s shipment was 600 doses. They vary and are then divided among the providers in our community. We want to do them frequently, though.”

Photo by John Chadwell.
Photo by John Chadwell.

He said the 600-dose shipment was divided between public health services, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, primary care associates, and the Lucky market pharmacy, which can be reached at (831) 634-1887. Providers will contact their patients to let them know they can come in for a shot.

“If you use a particular pharmacy and have signed up on the vaccine portal and you’re in the tier or phase being served, public health will send over that information to the pharmacy so the patient can receive the vaccine,” Westrick said.

San Benito County can only provide vaccines to individuals in the phases and tiers that California Department of Public Health has permitted under the state’s vaccination plan. Currently that is Phase 1B, tier 1 with ages 75+ prioritized at this time.


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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]