South County’s first mass Covid-19 vaccination site opened at Gilroy High School on Feb. 24, and health officials are hopeful the location can serve up to 2,000 people daily, dependent on supply.
The vaccination clinic at 750 West 10th St. uses the main and auxiliary gyms of the high school. Parking is available in the student lot on Princevalle Street. Vaccinations are by appointment only.
The Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved an agreement Feb. 11 that allows Santa Clara County Public Health to operate the site.
“We are very excited to be part of this effort to vaccinate our South County community, especially the residents of Gilroy and the staff of Gilroy Unified,” said GUSD Superintendent Deborah Flores. “I’m hopeful many of our residents and our employees will sign up for an appointment in the very near future, like today. It’s very easy to sign up.”
Beginning Feb. 28, workers in education, childcare, emergency services, and the food and agriculture industries will be eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in Santa Clara County.
The current group of eligible residents include healthcare workers and those age 65 or older.
The Gilroy High site will be operational for an indefinite period, said Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Associate Chief Medical Officer Jennifer Tong, which has led some parents to question how it will affect students’ eventual return to in-person instruction.
“It will not interfere with students returning to campus,” Tong said. “We will find additional locations if needed to ensure that we’re not interfering with any school operations.”
Gilroy has been the most impacted city in Santa Clara County during the pandemic. According to county health data, Gilroy has the highest Covid-19 case count rate per 100,000 residents at 12,967, and more than 12 percent of its population of 55,525 has had Covid-19 since March 2020.
“Gilroy and Morgan Hill have been especially hit hard by this pandemic,” County Supervisor Mike Wasserman said. “Vaccinating our community as quickly and equitably as possible is the key to healing and returning to some sort of normalcy.”
A steady stream of people visited the Gilroy High site on its first day of operation.
San Jose resident Linda, who declined to give her last name, received her first dose of the vaccine. She said she made an appointment as soon as she was eligible, although she noted that it took some time as all other sites in the county were booked.
“I think it’s critical that we all get the vaccine,” she said.
A “pop-up” vaccination site that was scheduled at the Gardner South County Health Center on Feb. 26 has been cancelled. Valley Health Center Gilroy also continues to provide vaccines by appointment.
For information on vaccination sites and to schedule an appointment, visit sccfreevax.org.