No ‘Happy Meals’ but Plenty of Smiles at This Drive-Thru
Feb 18, 2021
Monique Binkley Smith
Elderly Asian woman with Adult Daughter in Car

No burgers, fries or milkshakes are available at Alameda County’s newest drive-through — but on Wednesday people lined up in their cars and were smiling all the same. The reason? Instead of a double with cheese and extra pickles, Seniors 65+ and community healthcare workers received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Adult Black Woman Wearing Mask

70-year-old Hayward resident Salonia Williams was thrilled to receive her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Said 70-year-old Hayward resident Salonia Williams about the large-scale drive-through vaccine clinic, “It was a great experience, it really was! The staff was very good and it was so organized — they kept us moving along.”

Healthcare organizations like Sutter Health are working hard to stand up large-scale vaccination clinics in the Bay Area with the goal of distributing vaccine to eligible patients and healthcare workers as quickly as possible. Sutter’s latest site at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton is a collaborative effort with Alameda County and Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare.

“The Sutter Health integrated network of care has moved swiftly to establish and expand several large-scale vaccination sites across Northern California, like the one we launched at the Alameda County Fairgrounds,” said Teresa Sarlitto, vice president of Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Alameda County. “These large-scale sites are an important part of our commitment to the communities we serve to deploy as much vaccine as possible to eligible patients and high-risk populations, as supply allows.”

Cars in white tents at county fairgrounds vaccination site

The Alameda County Fairgrounds is the newest location for a Sutter large-scale vaccination drive-through site.

When the Pleasanton site is fully ramped-up, and as long as there is enough supply of the vaccine, Sutter will have the capacity to vaccinate about 2,000 patients a day at the clinic. Each healthcare entity at the fairground location — Sutter, Alameda County or Stanford — is able to vaccinate eligible patients or community healthcare workers with appointments only.

On Wednesday, excitement and gratitude were in the air — everyone from the healthcare workers administering the shots, to the staff helping patients through the process, to the seniors and community healthcare workers who received their first doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, were excited and hopeful that the beginning of the end of the pandemic may finally be at hand.

Asked what she would say to someone who may feel reluctant to be vaccinated when it’s their turn, Williams said, “If you want to get back to the way life was, if you want to get back to those freedoms of hugging your family and going out and socializing, do it!”

Sutter patients who meet eligibility guidelines may schedule an appointment through Sutter’s My Health Online app and the dedicated scheduling phone number. (For more information, go here.)

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