Mar. 29—Coastal Community Health Services is taking advantage of its recently purchased mobile health unit by using it to bring the COVID-19 vaccine directly to the community.
A recent stop at Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority brought doses of the vaccine to Head Start employees and other Community Action staff.
"We're super excited to have our mobile unit, to be bringing preventative care out to our community," said LaTanya Abbott-Austin, community engagement coordinator for Coastal Community Health Services.
She's reached out to churches, nonprofits, small businesses and private schools, offering to set up mobile vaccine clinics.
Community Health Services also offers vaccine appointments on Thursdays at its locations in Glynn and McIntosh counties.
Abbott-Austin contacted the Head Start preschool program, operated through Community Action, when word began to spread that the state would soon open vaccine eligibility to K-12 educators and school staff. Eligibility began March 8, and soon after the mobile unit was parked onsite and offering the Moderna vaccine.
"I am so excited about the staff," said Tres Hamilton, CEO of Community Action. "I thought there was going to be a lot of apprehension, but I was really pleasantly surprised that staff were willing to take it."
Hamilton said the vaccine availability will be a game-changer for the agency as Head Start works toward returning to full capacity for children.
"We're still at reduced capacity," she said.
The mobile unit will return in April to provide the second vaccine dose to Head Start teachers and Community Action staff.
"It really gives you peace of mind after all this time over the last year," Abbott-Austin said. "It really gives you a peace of mind to know that you're protected."
The Lambda Tau chapter of Omega Psi Phi sponsored a locally owned food truck onsite during the vaccine clinic to provide support.
Joy Hector, a Head Start teacher who received the vaccine during the mobile clinic, said she did so because she's interacting with students every day and then returning home to her family. She wants everyone to stay healthy.
"I want the kids to be safe, and I would like personally for me and my family to be safe," Hector said. "When I leave school each day and I go home, I want to make sure that I'm not taking anything home to my family."