More than 1,000 people receive COVID-19 vaccine at Atwater high school

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- One after another -- people made their way through the Buhach Colony High School gym to get the life-saving Pfizer vaccine.

"We know that in this country, we've lost over 500,000 people and we are doing this event for that reason," says Peter Mojarras, Chief Operating Officer for the Castle Family Health Centers.

More than 1,000 people got vaccinated during the one-day mass vaccination clinic in Atwater.

Those eligible for the shot were in and out in a matter of minutes.

Irlene Engel, 80, was one of many who were able to secure an appointment during the community event.

Her grandson, Joseph, stuck by her side through the process.

"It means that I am going to be well protected," Irlene said.

"She will be able to get out of the house and start doing the things that she likes to do again," Joseph said. "She'll have that opportunity."

The clinic came together in a partnership between Castle Family Health Centers, the Merced Public Health Department and the Merced Union School District.

Mojarras says they were able to secure doses of the vaccine through Blue Shield of California.

"Blue Shield will be working directly with the health centers such as ours and pharmacies," he said. "We will now get direct shipments and we will get direct shipments on a weekly basis."

During the clinic, more than 250 educators were immunized.

Officials with the school district say this comes at a perfect time, since in-person instruction starts in a matter of weeks.

"This helps everybody feel safe for the return to school on March 15," says Cristi Johnson, Director of Student Services with Merced Union High School District.

Mojarras says those who weren't able to get a shot this time around will have future opportunities through Castle Family and other Merced County Health Centers.
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