Increase in COVID-19 cases prompts Hayward residents to line up for vaccine

For the first time in roughly two months, someone in Marin County has died from COVID-19.

And like the majority of new cases, the victim had not been vaccinated.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 has brought more death and hospitalizations, but it’s also having a positive side effect, as witnessed in Hayward Saturday.

Organizers say people began driving up to this pop-up vaccination clinic even before it officially opened at 9 a.m.

Vehicles steadily streamed into the lot on Mission Boulevard near Highway 238 for a clinic operated by the non-profit La Familia.

Many participants said they had a specific motivation.

"Mostly the new variant coming out.  We also wanna make sure we're doing our part not to get other people sick," said Ericka Ellison of Hayward.

"My mom she asked me if I wanted to get it and I said sure," said Owen Davis.

Vaccines don’t absolutely guarantee defense against COVID-19, but survivability is what’s most important to one woman who drove from Tracy, knowing she could still catch the virus, like other vaccinated people have.

"They not die yet, but they survive, so that's why I'm here," said Mama Hemo.

The site is in Hayward’s Cherryland district, an area with low vaccination rates compared with Alameda County at large.

Organizers also used free food from a food bank to entice people, and loaded up nearly 500 boxes.

"So, you can see today families are coming here to get food they're coming and picking up boxes of food and then in an exchange we ask them if they've been vaccinated, so they'll get the vaccine if they haven't, and they're open to it," said Denize Maldonado -with La Familia.

Organizers say they are seeing renewed interest in vaccinations, due to the COVID-19 Delta variant, something happening nationwide.

"The White House said vaccinations were up overall 14% this last week over the week prior, which is a good number," said dr. Monica Gandhi, a UCSF infectious disease specialist.

Gandhi says the Bay Area’s relatively high vaccination rate is helping it avoid the spike in hospitalizations and deaths happening in some other parts of the country.

She says 83% of nationwide cases are now the Delta variant, overwhelmingly hitting people who have avoided doing this, getting a shot of protection.

"Every hospitalization right now, almost everyone is preventable and it seems like a disaster that we're doing this in July 2021," said Dr. Gandhi.

The clinic in Hayward was capable of giving up to 150 doses.

They had 30 takers within the first couple of hours, which they say is definitely a recent improvement.