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Gilroy
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May 9, 2021

Editorial: Make vaccination a priority in Gilroy

Nobody likes a line-jumper, the snide person who forces their way through the crowd with constant utterances of “excuse me” while claiming their friend saved a spot for them at the very front.

Get caught, and it’s grounds for ejection wherever they may be. But in Santa Clara County, such behavior is rewarded.

Mountain View, an affluent community with some of the lowest Covid-19 case rates in the county, leapfrogged the struggling South County and received its own mass vaccination site.

Santa Clara County and Mountain View officials announced the new North County site on Jan. 22, boasting that it could vaccinate up to 1,000 people per weekday on an appointment basis.

A by-appointment-only site at Valley Health Center Gilroy, available for those 65 and older who receive primary care from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center hospitals and clinics and not from various other providers, can only vaccinate up to 500 a day.

As of Jan. 26, Mountain View, with a population of 80,993, reported 2,460 cases since March. By comparison, Gilroy has had 6,521 cases among a population of 55,525.

The process of distributing the vaccines has been painfully slow, made worse by our impatience. But that impatience is warranted.

More than 10 percent of Gilroy’s population has had Covid-19 since March, far ahead of any other city in the county.

Gilroy lost one of its institutions, when First Street Coffee House, a staple of 26 years, closed up shop Jan. 24, citing the ever-changing and difficult Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the state and county. It’s not the first, and unfortunately won’t be the last, Gilroy business to close because of shutdown orders.

Why is Gilroy not a priority for a mass vaccination site? We realize the county is at the mercy of the state’s complicated and slow dose allocation process and staffing is limited. San Benito County, however, has taken a proactive approach to staffing by putting out a call for qualified volunteers for mass clinics. Perhaps this is something Gilroy and Santa Clara County should consider.

We need a more visible and aggressive approach from our city leaders to make vaccination a priority in South County. The parking lot at Gilroy Gardens is an ideal place for a mass site, as other long-shuttered theme parks throughout the state have done.

Gilroy residents can get vaccinated at the various North County sites, of course. But convenience is key, and we don’t have it down here yet.

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