Since early spring, Samaritan staff and volunteers, alongside teams from county health departments, have taken COVID-19 vaccines to people where they live or work. The efforts to make the vaccine easier to access in convenient locations have helped to steadily increase the number of fully vaccinated people throughout Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties.
“As mass vaccination events became less-attended, we needed to find more creative ways to reach people within their local communities,” said Tana DeAdder, director of Primary Care Practices for Samaritan. “Partnering with county health departments and going where the need is greatest has helped us reach some of our more hard-to-reach populations in locations such as workplaces, rural community centers and schools.”
A centerpiece of this outreach has included SamCare Mobile Medicine, Samaritan’s 40-foot medical clinic on wheels.
“The mobile clinic quite literally takes vaccines directly to people where they are located,” DeAdder said. “People sign up for an appointment time, and in most cases, get their vaccine and are back on their way within 20 minutes. It’s an easy way to get vaccinated without traveling too far or giving up too much of your day.”
Partnering with county health teams has made an impact on how effective these smaller clinics can be.
“Public health staff have the data and the on-the-ground knowledge of individuals or groups who weren’t being reached by mass vaccination events or who typically won’t go to a local doctor’s office for care,” explained DeAdder. “Their knowledge — coupled with Samaritan’s clinical expertise and the mobile clinic — have made a strong partnership to benefit our local residents.”
These smaller vaccination events serve groups ranging in size from 20 to 100 people throughout the tri-county area.