Sikhs for Humanity have made it possible for thousands of San Joaquin County residents to secure COVID-19 vaccinations.
The organization has — and is — staging vaccine events in Manteca, Tracy, Mountain House, Lodi, Modesto, and Stockton on the grounds of Sikh temples. They are adding a site in Fresno.
Through at least May 21, the Manteca location on the southeast corner of Airport Way and Woodward Avenue is offering Pfizer shots from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. The site isn’t listed on the county health department as it is now scheduled primarily for second shots from those that received the first shot at the location previously.
However drop-ins are being easily accommodated for first shots or second shots as a follow up from another vaccination site if the Manteca location isn’t still being used three weeks from now.
Gary Singh, part of the Sikhs for Humanity leadership as well as a Manteca council member, noted the organization was worried that commuters weren’t being effectively served.
“They can’t make a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekday event,” he said.
So the Sikhs for Humanity in Manteca added vaccination events on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Singh said the response has been strong with 400 on an average weekend day. The weekend shots are being administered by a Stockton pharmacy that has access to Moderna vaccines as opposed to the Pfizer shots being administered Monday through Friday.
Walk-ins welcome, process takes
an hour or less most of the time
Congressman Josh Harder visited the Manteca location to observe the effort, assist registering people for the vaccine shot, and to present certificates of appreciation.
“The reality is we all benefit when everybody gets vaccinated,” Harder noted.
The congressman noted when the vaccines first became available people were scrambling to find events to register for before they filled up. Many in the Bay Area even traveled into the Northern San Joaquin Valley to secure shots when local people were not signing up for them in large enough numbers to use what vaccines had bene allotted to their county.
“The challenge now is to make it more accessible,” Harder said of the vaccines.
And that is just what the Sikhs for Humanity are doing now. After miscues in flow patterns three weeks ago where some people got frustrated and left, adjustments have been made.
As a result the entire process is now typically taking an hour or less. That compares to two hours at other recent events such as at Delta College in Stockton.
39.2 percent of Manteca
adults now fully vaccinated
Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop have a higher percentage of its targeted population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 than the California and national averages.
Thanks to efforts by Sikhs of Humanity, commercial locations, and health care providers as of Thursday:
*39.2 percent or 23,804 of targeted Manteca residents were fully vaccinated while 16.18 percent or 9,809 were partially vaccinated.
*40.78 percent or 5,032 of targeted Ripon residents were fully vaccinated while 12.40 percent or 1,530 were partially vaccinated.
*42.97 percent of 7,195 of targeted Lathrop residents were fully vaccinated while 19.98 percent or 3,346 were partially vaccinated.
So far 32.42 percent of California’s targeted population is fully vaccinated as opposed to 32.3 percent nationally.
Sikhs for Humanity started in
2016 after Santa Rosa fire
The devastating Santa Rosa wildfire of 2016 prompted the formation of the Sikhs for Humanity effort in South San Joaquin County
The organization helped feed and clothe those displaced by the Tubbs fire that killed 22 people burned 5,643 structures — mostly homes — and caused $1.3 billion in damages.
There are now three Sikhs for Humanity groups located in Mountain House, Manteca and Tracy that will often work in concert as they did in Paradise when it was devastated by a wildfire several years ago.
The group also does other community endeavors such as feeding the needy, working with food pantries, and planting trees in Tracy and Manteca parks.
Harry Dhillon, who serves on the Mountain House Community Services District board as well as in the Sikhs for Humanity leadership, notes the daily vaccination events require 15 volunteers at each location. So far, most volunteers have compiled between 90 and 100 hours.
COVID effort started with
massive mask efforts
The Sikhs for Humanity effort with protecting the communities they are part of against COVID started with their efforts to secure and provide 30,000 n95 masks for hospitals and other healthcare facilities when they were in short supply at the start of the pandemic.
“We were also worried about people on the front-line that weren’t medical workers such as in stores and gas stations,” Singh said.
That led to a massive mobilization to produce and generate tens of thousands of masks.
Men and women stepped up to sew cloth face masks and to distribute them in the community at no cost. The Sikhs for Humanity bought additional sewing machines to meet the demand.
At one point Singh said he was spending every day of the week driving around collecting masks and distributing them. The production revved up to the point that they could no longer secure the proper cloth locally and ordered it from Canadian sources.
Dhillon said they stopped keeping track of the cloth masks. They noted the cloth masks that were produced and distributed free of charge easily surpassed the 30,000 n95 masks.
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