BOISE — St. Luke’s announced in a press release it is hitting the road with lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines and taking them to people in rural, remote and underserved communities in Idaho.
A new mobile vaccine unit sets out this week to provide more convenient immunizations for people who have struggled to make appointments, don’t have access to a nearby clinic or pharmacy, or don’t have transportation.
The retrofitted RV is set up to provide hundreds of COVID-19 vaccinations each day with no appointment necessary. It will travel at the request of community groups and companies that would like to host a vaccination event.
The goal is to reach regions hardest hit by coronavirus, areas where vulnerable populations live and work, and communities where access to the vaccine has been more limited. Examples of groups the mobile unit will serve include senior housing services, homeless shelters and housing facilities, faith-based organizations, communities of color, indigenous communities, and people with disabilities.
The new MVU’s first official stop will be Tues., May 4, at the Office of the Mexican Consulate in Boise. Vaccines will be provided on a walk-in basis and at no cost to the patient from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.
St. Luke’s will also take vaccinations to large workplaces such as factories and food processing plants, including Chobani in Twin Falls on May 7. The mobile unit schedule and updates can be found on StLuke’sOnline.org vaccine page. Vaccines will also still be offered by appointment at St. Luke’s clinics spread out across Southwest Idaho and Eastern Oregon.
“Idaho is a rural state and many of our communities are isolated,” said Scott Milner, St. Luke’s senior director of pharmacy. “People there haven’t had the same access to the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s why we’re taking the vaccine to them. 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.”
St. Luke’s plans to use both one-dose and two-dose vaccine brands for these mobile visits, which means vaccines will be available to all people ages 16 and up and are safe for pregnant women. Vaccines will be given on a walk-in, first-come, first-served basis.
HOW TO REQUEST ST. LUKE’S MOBILE VACCINE UNIT
Churches, community groups, workplaces and others can request a visit from St. Luke’s mobile vaccine unit. They just need to provide the parking space needed for the RV, people who would like to be vaccinated and help with scheduling. St. Luke’s clinical team will do the rest. The service is free to both the organization hosting the event, as well as the people who are getting vaccinated. St. Luke’s will provide interpretation services at no cost.
Accommodations will be made for those who are unable to access the MVU. Patients with limited mobility should stay in their vehicle and call 208-513-3413 when they arrive at the vaccination location, and St. Luke’s staff will come to the patient. Directions will also be provided on site.
“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.”
St. Luke’s has also been actively reaching out to community partner organizations and large employers to offer this new mobile service. The coordination team will do its best to accommodate an organization’s preferred dates and times.
To schedule your event, please fill out the Community Partner Mobile COVID19 Vaccine Interest Form on the St. Luke’s website.