Minnesota Department Of Health Rolls Out COVID-Vaccine Buses
As the push to get as many people as possible vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus in an attempt to gain "herd immunity", the Minnesota Department of Health is making it easier than ever with a mobile option. They introduced the "COVID-19 Community Mobile Vaccination Bus Project" in the middle of April and plan to run it throughout the summer months.
The project addresses one of the most-common barriers listed as "standing in the way of equitable rates of vaccination in" the state. According to details released by the Minnesota Department of Health, "access to the vaccine is one of the greatest barriers". With a mobile bus that comes to residents in their own community, the state health department hopes to alleviate obstacles and get COVID-vaccines to as many people that want them.
Collaboration is the key to making the program work. The buses are a partnership between the Minnesota Department of Health, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Metro Transit, the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Specifically. "Metro Transit turned six underutilized transit buses into mobile vaccination clinics by removing seating and installing new equipment". Key to the program is sending the buses to areas where people who want the vaccine can't obtain them easily due to lack of local resources.
So how does it work? State health officials collect vaccine request data on under-resourced communities. A special focus is being put on "communities identified using the CDC Social Vulnerability Index". Community partners (organizing agencies) are also invited to fill out a request form to get the bus scheduled for their area; state health officials caution that requesting a bus doesn't necessarily mean that one of the mobile units will be able to be scheduled for there.
Some important details about the program:
- COVID-19 vaccines are free to the recipient
- The program is not requiring identification, proof of citizenship, or insurance
- The community vaccine buses are ADA accessible
- Each bus is stocked with supplies to vaccinate about 100 people each day, depending on travel time
For more information about the program, click here.