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In San Diego, UDW and UNAC partnered to administer vaccines to fellow union members

Getting ready for people to arrive at the vaccine drive. Photo credit: UDW/AFSCME Local 3930.
By Khaleelah Elhajoui, UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 ·
In San Diego, UDW and UNAC partnered to administer vaccines to fellow union members
Members waiting to be called for their vaccination. Photo credit: UDW/AFSCME Local 3930.

“For me, the vaccine is a matter of life,” said UDW caregiver and county representative Beatriz Manjarrez during a vaccination drive at UDW’s San Diego Headquarters this past weekend.

Manjarrez provides in-home care to her mother and her son, so being able to get the vaccine gave her peace of mind – not just for herself, but for members of her family who have underlying conditions.

“We are essential workers,” she explained. “We need to take care of ourselves, our families, our clients and the whole community.”

In addition to receiving the vaccine, Manjarrez joined other UDW members in greeting new arrivals, sanitizing clipboards and answering questions her fellow union members had about the vaccination forms.

The vaccination drive was made possible through a united effort across San Diego’s labor community. Working with the California Labor Federation and the governor’s office, UDW provided an estimated 3,000 vaccines to union workers and community allies.

The event demonstrates how unions act as a trusted partner in helping workers navigate the vaccination process. And it is yet another example of the difference a union makes in the lives of working people.

“Union members should have an accessible way to get these vaccines should they choose to do so,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “We wanted to be on the front end of this process – not only in educating our members on why it’s important to get the vaccine, but also providing a comfortable space where they can get vaccinated safely.”

As participants lined up to form socially distanced rows outside, a unified crew of nurses worked quickly to set up their stations, preparing for the hundreds of union members who would be receiving the vaccine.

UDW collaborated with the United Nurses Associations of California (UNAC) to ensure that the vaccines were administered safely and effectively.

“I see this event as a great opportunity to help others,” said Annie Cherian, a retired UNAC nurse with over 40 years of experience. “There are so many people waiting for the vaccine and we have the responsibility to help.”

That sentiment was a common theme among the nurses who volunteered to make this event possible – a genuine desire to contribute to the health of San Diego’s communities. Although the pandemic isn’t over, events like these provide hope of an eventual return to normalcy.

“We should all be excited to get the vaccine,” said San Diego child care provider Tory Racine. “We care for the kids of essential workers, so getting the vaccine is a way for us to find a safer and more secure future.”

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