Mobile Vaccine Clinics Getting Shots to People of Color

More than 500 federal mobile clinics are helping boost higher coronavirus vaccine rates in needy communities.

Video Transcript

LINDSEY THEIS: So as more and more vaccine doses become available, the challenge is still how to get those doses to the people and communities that need them the most. And that's where mobile vaccination sites like this one come into play. There's a new problem in the quest for vaccinations.

In some states, there's more supply than there are people to actually administer the shots. That includes here in California. Mobile vaccine clinics run by FEMA are helping.

These are different from the large mass vaccination sites. And there have been more than 500 of them across the country. The clinics stay in one spot for a week, then pack up and move. Three weeks later, it's back to the original site for dose two.

DEANNA FRAZIER: We have two community vaccination centers, one here in Oakland at the Coliseum and one in LA. Each of those centers has three mobile centers attached to them.

LINDSEY THEIS: FEMA's Deanna Frazier says this is a coordinated effort by the Biden administration. Logistically, it's a nightmare. It takes 59 people from 53 different agencies just to run this one site in Oakland.

DEANNA FRAZIER: --Cal Fire, 15 from FEMA, 9 from the AMR-- they provide our vaccinations for us-- AmeriCorps, California Highway Patrol.

LINDSEY THEIS: So this week the plan is to vaccinate more than 1,000 individuals just at this site alone. But day to day, it really depends. For example, on March 23, they vaccinated more than 300 people. But on March 26, there are more than 512 appointments.

- So it will be tomorrow at 12:30.

LINDSEY THEIS: Getting people to their appointments, La Familia, a community nonprofit, operating for more than 40 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's a trusted messenger.

- Go ahead and bring the identification card and vaccine card.

LINDSEY THEIS: CEO Aaron Ortiz says his staff has worked around the clock to get people here.

AARON ORTIZ: If they can get here via car, they do. We've had people walk just from around the corner from the local blocks here just walking up to get the vaccination from the phone calls that we've made.

LINDSEY THEIS: So if someone wants to get here, but they need a ride, are you guys giving rides?

AARON ORTIZ: A ride, or we can provide gas. Or we can also provide transportation.

LINDSEY THEIS: It's unclear how long the mobile sites will operate across California. Frazier says discussions are now under way. But La Familia isn't waiting though. For the past two weeks, Ortiz says they've also secured doses directly from the state and even a third-party vendor.

AARON ORTIZ: I want to be able to do 2,000 between this site and our other site. What we need is just more vaccine.

LINDSEY THEIS: Right now, the Biden administration is shipping nearly 30 million doses to states each week. By the time we hit the end of the month, this vaccine clinic and others like it will have gone to 16 different locations, vaccinating thousands across the state of California.