SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County has unveiled a new tool that will allow them to give the COVID-19 vaccine to the most vulnerable and underserved people in the community. And those people don't even have to go to a medical center to get their doses.
The county indicated it'll allow them to reach corners of the community that might not have a clear path to the vaccine.
Two mammoth health mobiles sat parked in the Salt Lake County complex Wednesday morning, wrapped with logos and ready to go.
"Thanks for being here on this crisp day, and I'm really thrilled to share we have these amazing mobile units," said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson.
She and Salt Lake County Human Services Director Karen Crompton explained that the mobile health centers will allow the Salt Lake County Health Department to administer the vaccine in communities across the valley.
They described how the purpose goes beyond give out shots.
"These mobile health centers will give us an additional opportunity to reach some of those hard-to-reach populations," Crompton said.
They described how the mobile health centers will target communities where a language barrier makes it hard to communicate, or where lack of access to technology makes it difficult to connect.
Not to mention, those are populations hit hard by the pandemic.
"COVID-19 has disproportionately affected our diverse and underserved communities, and many people face barriers when trying to access public health services," Crompton said.
That's why public health is coming straight to those communities. Mayor Wilson said the mobile health centers are already in use.
Crompton described how they are currently finding those over the age of 70 to vaccinate.
"We looked at hot spots for COVID within the community, and reached out to seniors who participated in some of our programs within those areas," she said.
Because of that outreach, she explained, they vaccinated 1,000 extra people last week.
Mayor Wilson indicated that it's that kind of outreach that allows the mobile health centers to reach people who need it most. She said the county will work with emergency service teams, aging services, and diversity and affairs to get the doses administered-- making sure they reach everyone.
"You know all the most important thing for us in our community now is a vaccine," Mayor Wilson said. "And we're working hard to get as many vaccines administered on a daily basis as we can."
She said the mobile health centers will have a weekly allotment of doses. Then working with community services, they'll identify a list of people and areas to drive to.
Lee Cherie Booth, a registered nurse with the Salt Lake County Health Department, explained that they will either do vaccination registrations ahead of time or allow people to register at the mobile unit.
Once the general population begins to receive the vaccine, Booth said they'd likely part the units somewhere and allow people to come to where the unit is parked--whether in a parking lot or place of business.
They would advertise the location ahead of time.
While the idea is to start with the COVID-19 vaccine, Booth said the mobile units can be used for other purposes later down the line.