DENVER — Daily vaccine rates in the U.S. have declined sharply since mid-April. Now, health care agencies are reaching people wherever they can to get them vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Came here to get my second shot of the vaccine,” said Carlos Guyton.
He was one of a handful of people who recently walked into a mobile vaccine clinic in downtown Denver.
“My building actually sent me an email saying they were going to be having vaccinations here. It’s right across the parking way, so I might as well just do it here anyway,” he said.
In this case, “they” was Denver Health’s mobile vaccine unit. The health organization was holding a clinic across the street from Guyton’s apartment at the Denver Buddhist Temple.
“It can be crazy, it can be mild, it can be all kinds of different things,” said Lily Pham.
It was just another day for Pham, a clinic nurse.
“The traditional health care environment, brick and mortar, doesn’t meet the needs of everybody,” said Ashley Shurley, the program director for the mobile unit.
She and her team are focused on what many across the country are now focusing on: Vaccinating patients wherever they are.
“We really need to be able to partner with the community with people they already trust,” said Shurley.
“You have a lot of people who are afraid to go into a hospital setting. When they come here to us, a lot of them feel a lot more comfortable, it’s a more intimate setting,” said Pham.
It’s not just mobile clinics in the community. Health systems are vaccinating people wherever they can reach them, like at pediatrician offices
“If a person’s coming in with their child and the parent hasn’t been vaccinated, then we can vaccinate the parent. And if the child is 12 and above, then we can vaccinate the child,” said Shurley.
The strategy of meeting people where they are is making a dent. Denver Health says its mobile unit has vaccinated more than 13,000, and people of color make up more than 70% of that population.
For Guyton, being accessible made all the difference.
“Honestly, I feel like I got it done when I did because it was here,” he said.