A senior citizen receives the CCOVID-19 vaccine at Terasaki Budokan in Little Tokyo.

Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), Wesley Health Centers and Keiro partnered to bring a mobile clinic to Little Tokyo on Dec. 2, providing the COVID-19 vaccine booster to local low-income seniors, essential workers and childcare professionals who otherwise do not have access.

This booster clinic followed a series of COVID-19 vaccination clinics that LTSC and Wesley Health Centers hosted earlier this year at Terasaki Budokan.

Locating and receiving a COVID-19 booster requires technology to navigate the multi-step online process, English language skills, and access to transportation — which create lofty barriers for Little Tokyo’s low-income seniors, essential workers and childcare professionals. To meet this unmet community health need, the clinic brought booster shots to the community at Terasaki Budokan.

With Keiro’s funding support, Wesley Health Centers supplied the vaccines, the mobile vaccination unit and staff to help distribute the doses. LTSC social workers conducted outreach and pre-registration in Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Spanish, and provide day-of support in-language.

“I don’t drive, and I can’t be away from my babies for too long. It’s also hard to step away from my job to get the shot. The convenience of this clinic is really good for me.” said Dulce Gonzalez, a local childcare professional.

“It is such a relief to take my husband to the Little Tokyo vaccine clinic since it’s a short walking distance from my home. It would’ve been a great challenge to take him elsewhere since he is in a wheelchair. I appreciate all the thoughtful details of the clinic. I am so impressed by how smooth and efficient it is,” said Yoshiko Takahashi, a 10-year resident of Little Tokyo Towers.

After hosting five vaccine clinics that distributed over 500 shots earlier this year, the booster clinic follows through on the commitment to keep the community healthy and safe.

“As recommendations for boosters rolled out, we wanted to make sure everyone in our community had access to critical health care. We’ve learned that many factors like distance to a clinic and access to technology are huge obstacles for people seeking a vaccine. We’re incredibly grateful for our partnership with Keiro and Wesley Health Centers. Together, we’re able to keep our community safe as we enter the holiday season,” said Ayumi Nagata, program coordinator at LTSC.

“We are pleased to partner with LTSC and Wesley Health Centers to provide this timely vaccine booster clinic. It is important for us to make boosters available and accessible especially to those in our community who are most vulnerable. We hope all eligible people in our community will get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Gene Kanamori, president and CEO of Keiro.

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