DENVER — Since February, Denver Health’s Mobile Health Unit has facilitated about 10,000 vaccinations in neighborhoods across the Denver Metro Area with plans to expand the program to walk-up vaccination sites in the coming weeks, according to Denver Health.
The focus of the program has been to target neighborhoods that have been historically underserved, and so far, the hospital said 67% of patients who have been vaccinated through the mobile clinics have been people of color.
“We really wanted to make sure that we went into the community, met people where they were, and took barriers away,” said Mackenzie Holdershaw, Nursing Program Manager for Denver Health’s Mobile Health Centers.
The mobile health unit strategically sets up at locations scattered throughout the metro area four to five times a week, vaccinating between 200-350 people a day.
The mobile unit, which was designed to include exam rooms and areas for blood draws and doctor consults, was originally donated to the hospital through the Anschutz foundation to focus on taking primary care to neighborhoods.
With the pandemic, it shifted to mobile COVID-19 testing sites, then vaccination clinics that are advertised through community partners.
“The word is getting out through community centers, churches, and populations that already have a really nice center that they are focused on being a part of,” Holdershaw said. “The importance lies in making sure that we’re going to an area that these communities trust. We’re partnering with somebody who they know already and trust and by doing that it really helps break down the barriers of worry about the vaccine.”
Denver Health is expecting to get a third Mobile Health Unit this week. It will begin testing walk-up clinics with the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Holdershaw said they will choose high-traffic areas, like shopping centers or business parks, and will vaccinate anyone in the area without appointments.
The first few weeks of the new operation will be meant as a pilot period.
Denver Health will release more information on where future walk-up clinics will be held as soon as that test period is complete.
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