(Rialto, Calif.) Nurses from LaSalle Medical Associates vaccinated more than 220 people Saturday during a Rialto clinic designed to give the Black community better access to COVID-19 vaccinations.
LaSalle teamed up with San Bernardino’s New Hope Missionary Baptist Church and The Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches to put at a recent clinic, part of an innovative approach in which the church gathered a list of interested people, and LaSalle staff members contacted them to make appointments.
Alicia Cazenave of San Bernardino was happy that her church worked with LaSalle to bypass the bureaucratic roadblocks she experienced earlier when trying to make appointments for family members through government agencies.
She arrived early Saturday morning and was third in line to get her shot.
“I am relieved to be getting it,” said Cazenave, 59. “Having the church organize it helped as far as access. The church gave us better access.”
She was also happy to be getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is just one dose.
“The shot was good. No pain,” she said after being inoculated.
Dr Michael Andrew Owens, pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, was thankful that LaSalle worked directly with the church to set up vaccination appointments.
“I had to try to get around the bureaucracy myself, so I appreciate that our health partners engaged with trusted community partners like churches, and I appreciate the respect for the church, knowing that we have influence in the community,” he said. “It’s good to offer clear access from familiar people to the community. It helps.
“And the one shot, that sold itself. I think a lot of people were waiting,” he said.
“Today we are giving Johnson’s vaccine. It’s just one shot and you’re done. We just got it last week,” said Dr. Albert Arteaga, LaSalle’s president and founder. “It’s as effective as the others at preventing serious disease or death. That’s up to nearly 100 percent.”
During Saturday’s clinic, he stood outside, answering questions and sharing light-hearted banter with people waiting in line.
“After your shot, you may get a slight fever tonight. But don’t worry. It’s just a case of Saturday Night Fever,” he joked with one man.
Vicki Creighton, from Riverside, said she was eager to get vaccinated Saturday.
“I feel confident, and I feel it’s going to be great. My mom and dad are 88 and they had their shots,” she said.
Deborah Neal, from Lake Elsinore, said she learned of Saturday’s clinic when a friend shared a flier from New Hope.
“I sure am relieved, especially since it’s one shot,” she said.
Dr. Arteaga told her, “You notice that we are taking everyone who comes and not finding reasons to turn people away.”
The Rialto clinic, San Bernardino clinic on Mount Vernon Ave., and Hesperia clinic are certified vaccination centers. For more information on LaSalle Medical associates at http://www.lasallemedicalassociates.com
About LaSalle Medical Associates
LaSalle Medical Associates is one of the largest independent minority owned healthcare companies in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The corporate office is in Redlands.