Health department mobile unit to offer vaccines

·2 min read

Jun. 10—GUILFORD COUNTY — The new Guilford County Public Health mobile unit has arrived and soon will host COVID-19 vaccination clinics in vulnerable neighborhoods.

But first, the county has to get the license plate, permits and insurance for the 183-square-foot vehicle it received Friday, said Dr. Iulia Vann, director of Guilford County Division of Public Health.

County officials hosted a ribbon-cutting Wednesday afternoon at the Maple Street Public Health office in Greensboro to show off the unit, which includes an examination room, registration/check-in area, medical-grade refrigerator, a lab work station, wheelchair lift and a privacy door between work areas.

"We're filling up the schedule and always looking for additional partnerships and locations," Vann said. "We are also focusing internally on mapping locations to host pop-up events with the mobile clinic."

To determine where use of the mobile unit would be most effective, the health department is analyzing local COVID-19 data, census tract information and the social vulnerability index provided through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

"We're also prioritizing areas with low vaccination rates and high (numbers of) cases," Vann said.

The unit will be ready for community events soon after the department gets the license plate and necessary highway permits, as well as insurance, Vann said.

The mobile unit initially will be dedicated to providing COVID-19 vaccinations and education in order to eliminate barriers community members may have, such as their ability to leave their neighborhood to get a vaccination. Future uses are expected to include health fairs, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, wellness checks in the community, refugee and immigrant services, and Women Infants and Children benefit certification and recertification, Vann said.

Each COVID-19 clinic may vary slightly depending on needs at the specific location, and will offer vaccine options.

"We will have at least two products so people can choose which vaccine is appropriate for them," Vann said. "We're trying to eliminate all of the barriers we have."

The county has not had a mobile vaccination clinic until now, although some other counties and medical partners within Guilford County have. Vann said her staff anticipates it will take 20 to 30 minutes for individuals to be vaccinated at the mobile unit, about the same amount of time as other providers.

Mobile clinic locations will be announced via press updates, social media and the county website.

cingram@hpenews.com — 336-888-3534 — @HPEcinde

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