SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — Denise Gallegos gave a thumbs up and smiled behind her mask as she got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
She drove up to the Maliheh Free Clinic in South Salt Lake where she had an appointment.
"Way easy," she told FOX 13 after she got her first shot. "I didn’t expect to get the shot for [a lot] longer!"
For Chloe Whalen, she was on her way home from work.
"I actually was just coming home today and I saw it was here," she said. "And I didn’t know how to schedule my vaccine in the first place and it helped out a lot. Really glad they’re here."
The Salt Lake County Health Department has been hosting small "pop up" vaccine clinics in an effort to get more people inoculated against the COVID-19 vaccine. The clinics, which have only a couple hundred doses, are able to reach people in a much smaller setting and usually more familiar surroundings. So far, they've held them at community centers and in supermarket parking lots.
Mary Lucero, the director of the Maliheh Free Clinic, said the people who get the vaccines are not hesitant but they have jobs or other issues that just don't let them get it so easily. So these clinics help make it happen, by booking appointments for an hour window. The Maliheh Free Clinic will offer them twice a month.
People lined up in the parking lot. A nurse walked up with an iPad, took their info and then jabbed them in the arm with a needle. They parked nearby to wait to ensure there were no adverse reactions.
It is mobile clinics like these that the state is pushing for to get more Utahns vaccinated against COVID-19. Governor Spencer Cox on Thursday announced a shift in strategy offering mobile clinics to businesses and community organizations to bring the vaccine directly to people.
Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson, who is overseeing vaccine efforts for the state, said mobile clinics are already showing success. She said it was evident early on that mass vaccine sites would not be an effective way to reach everyone.
"With 54 percent of our adult population now having received at least one dose of the vaccine, we have to switch strategies in order to reach herd immunity. We will still have mass vaccine sites for as long as they continue to make sense, but are shifting gears away from mass clinics where people have to come to us, to smaller-scale operations where we go directly to them," Lt. Gov. Henderson said. "Starting this week, any business or organization can request to host their own mobile vaccination clinic free of charge. This shift in operations, along with strategic use of the single-dose J&J vaccine, will help us meet our goal of 70% fully vaccinated to reach herd immunity."
The Salt Lake County Health Department continues to offer vaccines at the Mountain America Expo Center and the Maverik Center sites. Starting Monday, they will accept walk-ins at the Mountain America Expo Center from 10am-2pm.