SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — It was quite the sight on Saturday morning at Direct Relief’s headquarters, as volunteers from Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics delivered dozens of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are honored to have them here with us today to use our facility,” Direct Relief pharmacist Alycia Clark said.
Many of those that received their first shots included food and agriculture workers, who’ve been on the front lines serving society throughout the pandemic.
“This is the epitome of helping those who’ve been slammed the hardest by COVID,” Direct Relief president and CEO Thomas Tighe said.
“This is going to be great for them,” Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics chief medical director and CEO Dr. Charles Fenzi said. “This will add a whole layer of protection and by extension to the people that they serve.”
One of these farmworkers was Jose Luis-Flores, who was thrilled to acquire an added extra layer of protection.
“Makes you more secure to be around all the workers and your family of course,” he said. “Just makes you feel safe.”
Over the past pandemic year, Direct Relief supported Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics with over $750,000 worth of medical supplies aimed to aid the county’s underprivileged population.
“Our role is to reach the most vulnerable patients and communities,” Clark said.
“There are gaps that exist and people fall into them,” Tighe said. “It’s a good role for charitable organizations to play, particularly in our hometown which has supported Direct Relief for the past 73 years.”
However, administering the vaccine was only half the task, as an entire team of volunteers registered those that received their shots.
“The hardest part of this whole process is the documentation,” Fenzi said.
Along with cataloging their own vaccination records, they also sent them off to the state’s system.
Nevertheless, it’s a lot easier working out of Direct Relief’s headquarters.
Looking ahead, the humanitarian aid organization plans to continue hosting this vaccine sight every Saturday.
“We have the sight, storage facility and we look forward to doing more and as much as we can in the weeks and months ahead,” Tighe concluded.
Watch tonight on NewsChannel 3-12 and KKFX Fox 11 news.
(More information, video and pictures will be added here later today.)