Petaluma SRJC campus becomes one of three new vaccination sites


Courtesy Hannah Cunha

After receiving her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, Stephanie Stone (left) sets her appointment for her second dose with nurse’s assistant Angel Rodgers (right).

Jonathan Bigall and Hannah Cunha

The Santa Rosa Junior College Petaluma campus became a COVID-19 vaccination clinic Feb. 9 with nurses traveling from out of state to help administer doses.

The Petaluma campus’ fitness center was one of three new vaccination clinics to open in Sonoma County this month in a collaborative effort between the county and the Petaluma Health center. 

As the county enters Phase 1B of vaccine distribution, the Petaluma clinic has begun administering vaccines to residents 70 and older as well as essential agriculture workers and some education and childcare workers. 

Petaluma Health Center staff and traveling nurses from varying companies will administer 250 to 300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine per day by appointment. According to Brown, the county had put in a request to the state for additional assistance in administering doses.

Angel Rogers, a student certified nurse’s assistant from Chicago, Ill. working at the Petaluma clinic for SnapNurse, said there are around 70 nurses housed in a local Petaluma hotel.

“There are CNA and RN’s from all over. One gentleman who works with us is from Australia, but now lives in Florida,” she said.

Besides travelling across the country for work, Rogers also has four kids and a husband at home, as well as her own cosmetics business. When she isn’t busy at the clinic, she tries to get as much studying in as possible, bringing her textbooks with her to work. Most of the nurses involved volunteered to assist other communities previously.

“I volunteered to be here working. I want to help those I can,” Rodgers said, “I’m healthy, so I should help others who are at higher risk stay healthy as well.”

Ariana Byrd, a certified nurse’s assistant from Tampa Bay, Fla., was one of the many healthcare workers who arrived in Petaluma on Saturday night and has already traveled to Los Angeles and Sacramento to provide her services. She had not received the vaccine and was tense about the idea of acquiring it in the future. 

“It is optional for us nurses to get the vaccine,” Byrd said. “I’m nervous about getting the vaccine myself.” 

Byrd helped dozens of individuals schedule their second vaccination appointment, like 71-year-old life coach and novelist Stephanie Stone, who received her first dose with minimal nerves and a positive mindset.

“I think it’s going to work. There is more to come. They definitely have time to improve the vaccine more in the future,” Stone said. 

Other patients who received the vaccination weren’t as positive about their experience. Joette and Don Renenger, both 73 and retired, had trouble setting up their appointments to receive their first vaccination, and Joette was apprehensive about receiving her vaccination in the first place.

“Not easy to schedule an appointment at all,” Don Renenger said. “No appointments were available anywhere, I had to call the Petaluma Health Department to get an appointment.” 

Another patient had no issues scheduling her appointment the day the dates were released. Vicki French received an email stating the Petaluma campus was being used as a vaccination distributor and within two hours of the email, she had booked her appointment. 

“I was pretty grateful to receive the vaccine,” French said. “Scheduling the appointment was quick and simple.”