Thursday, June 24, 2021
St. Luke’s Mobile Vaccine Clinic to Make Four Stops in Wood River Valley
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The retrofitted recreational vehicle will make its way through the Wood River Valley May 10-15.
   
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

St. Luke’s is hitting the road, taking vaccines to a handful of neighborhoods in the Wood River Valley.

Wood River Valley residents will be able to walk up to the new mobile vaccine unit for a shot in the arm without having to schedule an appointment in advance.

 
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Look for this sign if you want a free vaccine without an appointment.
 

The mobile clinic will offer both one-dose and two-dose vaccine brands. Currently, vaccines are authorized for those 16 and older. But the Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue emergency authorization for those between the ages of 12 and 15 by early next week.

The retrofitted recreational vehicle will make these stops:

  • Monday, May 10—Hunger Coalition 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. The van will return from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 31 to provide booster shots.
  • Tuesday, May 11—The Meadows at 310 Meadows Drive south of Ketchum 4-8 p.m. The van will provide booster shots from 4-8 p.m. June 1.
  • Wednesday, May 12—Wood River YMCA in Ketchum 4-8 p.m. The van will be back from 4 to 8 p.m. June 2 for the booster shots.
  • Saturday, May 15—Kiwanis Park west of Balmoral on Laurelwood Drive in Hailey 9 a.m.-noon and 1-6 p.m. Will return from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-6 p.m. June 5.

Herbert Romero, founder of ProjecT.O.O.L.S. for Success said he is excited about the mobile vaccination outreach.

 
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With more than a half-million Idahoans fully vaccinated, Idaho reported just 209 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday. The state recorded no new deaths, its toll remaining at 2,054 deaths. Blaine County has reported just eight new cases in the past week for a total of 2,365.
 

“Many Hispanic families have gotten vaccinated but many more could get on board,” he said.

Romero added that there is a need to dispel misinformation concerning the vaccines. They do not, for instance, cause infertility, as one rumor purports, he said.

The mobile outreach seeks to provide more convenient immunizations for those who are too busy working to make appointments, don’t have access to a nearby clinic or pharmacy or don’t have transportation.

Patients who have limited mobility can drive to the vaccination site and call 208-513-3413 when they arrive. St. Luke’s staff will come to the patient.

The van launched its tour across southwestern and south-central Idaho on Tuesday at the Office of the Mexican Consulate in Boise. From there it will take vaccinations to factories and food processing plants, such as Chobani in Twin Falls, churches and senior housing complexes.

The hope is to reach regions hardest hit by the coronavirus, areas where vulnerable populations live and work and communities where access to the vaccine has been more limited.Thirty-four of Idaho's 44 counties are considered rural and that's where vaccination rates are lagging.

“Idaho is a rural state and many of our communities are isolated. People there haven’t had the same access to the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s why we’re taking the vaccine to them,” explained Scott Milner, St. Luke’s senior director of pharmacy. “We see this new mobile unit as another layer to our vaccination strategy and a way to improve convenience and address some of the racial, economic and health inequities we’ve seen worsen due to COVID-19.”

Health officials say that getting people vaccinated is the quickest way to get “back to normal.”

About 83 percent of Americans 65 and older have received at least one vaccine dose; 70 percent are fully vaccinated. More than 44 percent of the total population has gotten at least one vaccine dose and nearly 32 percent are fully vaccinated.

In Idaho 504,388 people have been fully vaccinated.

Some health officials are now saying we could see some semblance of normalcy once more than 70 percent of adults are vaccinated.

But, with older Americans vaccinated, the virus is targeting young people. Young unvaccinated Oregonians are now showing up in hospitals with severe cases of COVID-19, according to Gov. Kate Brown.

Oregon currently has the fastest growing infection rate in the country, which led Gov. Kate Brown to reinforce restrictions that ban indoor dining and reduce the number of people who can be indoors in movie theaters and gyms to prevent an estimated 450 COVID deaths that health officials say would happen without those restrictions.

Daily COVID-19 cases have doubled in Oregon and the number of patients hospitalized up 106 percent.

Those being hospitalized range between 20 and 40, as oppose to the elderly that were hospitalized earlier in the pandemic.

“The sooner Oregonians get vaccinated, the more Oregonians get vaccinated, the sooner we can open our economy,” she said.

West Virginia is offering a $100 savings bond to those 16 through 35 who get vaccinated.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds by early next week. Pfizer says their vaccine has 100 percent efficacy in children as young as 12.

Both Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines in children as young as 6 months.

WANT TO SCHEDULE A VISIT FROM ST. LUKE’S MOBILE CLINIC?

St. Luke’s is taking requests for visits from churches, community groups, work places and others. The service is free to the organization hosting the events and the people getting vaccinated. St. Luke’s will provide interpretation services at no cost.

“St. Luke’s sees this mobile team as yet another way we’re working to remove the barriers to health care access,” Milner said. “We encourage community partners to support this effort and help us vaccinate their employees, customers, clients, neighbors, friends and family members by just reaching out and working with us.”

To schedule an event, go to the Community Partner Mobile COVID19 Vaccine Interest Form on St. Luke’s web page at https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=hXn7k5OI5UmEQLs1DSilTxNNOGMMoUhCvN0e66gDu2RUMjYyQlRUSUxMT0dGQjZGR0o2WkJGMFVRMS4u

 

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