One of the only bright spots for Siu Wan in the year since Philadelphia went on pandemic lockdown has been an occasional trip to the grocery store.

“It was very bad. I stayed at home. I went nowhere,” the 73-year-old Chinatown resident said Monday, speaking through an interpreter.

It’s been a long year for him and his neighbors at On Lok House, whose senior residents — mostly, like Wan, first-generation Chinese immigrants — have been isolated from their families and even unable to meet each other in the apartment building’s communal areas. As pandemic-related racist attacks on Asian Americans rose around the nation, building staffers warned On Lok residents to be on their guard if they ever went out — another source of terror in already terrifying times.

But on Monday, Wan, who worked for decades in Philadelphia’s hospitality industry, got his second COVID-19 vaccine — the brightest spot in a year that’s tested Philadelphia’s immigrant communities and those who serve them.

Staffers at On Lok helped Wan and his neighbors, many of whom speak limited English, to sign up for the vaccine through Jefferson Health. The partnership came about through support from Judge Ida Chen — a Common Pleas Court judge and the first Asian American female judge in Pennsylvania — the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, and the Chinese Christian Church and Center, which sent vans to drive On Lok residents to their vaccine appointments.

Outreach organizations say that the pandemic made even more obvious and undeniable the preexisting health-care disparities that immigrants and people of color face.

» READ MORE: Vulnerable immigrants in Philly are scrambling to get the COVID-19 vaccine with few resources or outreach

It also has proven the importance of offering health-care services in multiple languages — while revealing how easy it is for their clients to fall through the cracks.

“People were getting very frustrated,” said Gary Ng, On Lok’s president. Many On Lok residents don’t have computers or smartphones that would allow them to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine through the city’s public health department on their own. Most don’t even have an email address, he said.

The experience has been similar in other communities, with some clinics, such as those run by the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, going to a walk-in model rather than a computer scheduling system in order to better serve lower-income Philadelphians.

Gretchen Shanfeld, the senior director of operations at the Nationalities Service Center, another immigrant outreach organization, said her clients want the vaccine. But — as with other underserved groups — no one had told them how to get it.

NSC is running its own series of vaccine clinics for immigrants, partnering with the city and SunRay Drugs. On Friday, just across the street from the federal mass vaccination site at the Convention Center, they vaccinated more than 200 people with their first doses of the vaccine. They hope to distribute 700 more doses in two more clinics.

About 70% of NSC’s clients have said they plan to get vaccinated. But when the organization began calling clients to sign them up for Friday’s clinic, they found that most hadn’t been connected with any resources to help them get the vaccine.

“Most people we talked to hadn’t really engaged with anything” such as the city health department’s website, where residents sign up for vaccine appointments, Shanfeld said. “It took that kind of affirmative type of outreach to get to those folks.”

Those vaccinated through both clinics recently said they felt a sense of relief after a hard year. Many had spent months unemployed or worked jobs where they feared infecting themselves and their families. They’ve lost friends and family to the virus.

Kadiatou Bah, a 20-year resident of South Philadelphia who is originally from Guinea, brought both her parents to the NSC clinic for vaccine appointments, and got a shot for herself, as well.

A home health aide, she has spent the last year worrying that she would bring the virus home to her parents, who both have health conditions that put them at higher risk for the most serious outcomes from COVID-19. And she had lost patients to COVID-19 this year, too.

The toll has become difficult to bear. “I’m always being transferred — because people are getting sick and dying from the disease. You meet new [patients], and you don’t know how long it’s going to last,” she said. “It’s getting too hard.”

» READ MORE: COVID-19 vaccine allocation creates ‘vaccine deserts’ in parts of Philly

At both clinics, clients said they felt a responsibility to get vaccinated — for themselves, and their community.

Ying Wan, a 97-year-old artist and On Lok resident who has lived in Philadelphia for 33 years, said she wasn’t much for vaccines — until the coronavirus hit.

“For 10 years, I never got a vaccine,” she said. “But this time, I decided to get it. Because it’s not just my life. It’s not only for me — it’s for everyone.”

On Lok House’s lockdown worked: Only one resident was hospitalized with COVID-19, and has since recovered, Ng said. But the seniors there are excited to slowly return to the lives they knew.

Steven Larin, NSC’s deputy director, said the news that all adults should be eligible for the vaccine by May 1 is “fantastic.” But the city needs to partner with more organizations that serve immigrants and other underserved populations, he said. “There needs to be more language access, more employees manning telephone lines. There are huge numbers that need to be vaccinated,” he said. “We need to scale up.”

Shanfeld and Ng said the personalized outreach they did surrounding the vaccine was key.

NSC did encounter some clients still hesitant about the vaccine, and while nearly every senior at On Lok got vaccinated, one resident who received her second vaccine on Monday said she was still hoping to convince her husband to get a shot. “He’s very stubborn,” she said through an interpreter, adding that her husband was afraid of side effects from the vaccine, even though scientists have found that the vast majority are mild. “Maybe later on, when everyone gets it.”

But Shanfeld said she’d be interested to see whether an “outside person” — instead of familiar NSC staffers — calling her clients about vaccines would have as much success signing people up. Even as the city tries to scale up vaccine distribution, Ng said it’s important to tailor outreach and vaccine clinics to the specific situations of communities that desperately need the vaccine, but whose concerns and access to information may vary widely.

This pandemic, Ng said, should be a wake-up call to better deal with future viruses and other health emergencies.

“If, say, a COVID-25 comes out, I would get all the interested groups — like North Philly community groups, Chinatown community groups — get them together, and say, ‘We have vaccines. Tell me how you think I can distribute it evenly,’” said Ng, also a board member of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation. “Amazingly, sometimes people will think of ways that you’ll never think of.”

For Wan, the former hospitality worker, signing up for the vaccine was easy: A staffer at On Lok asked him whether he wanted a vaccine, and helped him register for an appointment. On Monday, he sat in a folding chair at the Convention Center, vaccination card in hand, waiting for his second shot. His sister, also an On Lok resident, sat just in front of him.

“It’s pretty important for senior people to get vaccinated. I’m pretty excited. My sister — she’s a little needle shy,” he said, laughing. “But I’m not afraid at all.”