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COVID-19 vaccine distribution on wheels in Salt Lake County

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FILE – This undated file photo issued by the University of Oxford, shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Britain has authorized use of a second COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first country to greenlight an easy-to-handle shot that its developers hope will become the “vaccine for the world.” The United Kingdom government says the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has made an emergency authorization for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca.
(John Cairns/University of Oxford via AP, File)

SALT LAKE COUNTY (ABC4) — Two mobile health centers are hitting the road in Salt Lake County to vaccinate people against COVID-19.

The Salt Lake County Health Department said it is doing this to vaccinate as many people as possible and to reach those who are unable to travel, having problems registering, and are having technical problems. 

The RVs (mobile health centers) were paid for by CARES act money and are in use now until the end of COVID-19 according to the Salt Lake County Health Department. They cost $250,000 a piece.
Salt Lake County Mayor Wilson said she wants to make sure the community has as much access to the vaccine as possible. 

“The point here is we want to get a vaccine to everyone at the right time when we have more vaccine available and when those categories are released,” said Mayor Wilson. 

The mobile health centers fit about five to six people and can vaccinate twonpeople at a time. Registration can be done on site or it can be online. 

The RVs drive to hot spot areas or neighborhoods where people are on the waiting list for COVID-19. 
They were retrofitted to serve the community and act as COVID-19 vaccine distribution sites. They can be used as a drive-thru or walk-up.

Right now there is a waiting list for those 70 and older.

“We are going to go out and get to people of need,” says Mayor Wilson. “I can tell you all right now the most important thing for us in the community now is a vaccine and we are working hard to get as many vaccines administered on a daily basis as we can.”

A registered nurse who administers COVID-19 vaccines, Lee Cherie Booth, said it could eventually turn into a COVID- 19 testing site as well. She said people will know ahead of time when and where the mobile health centers are. 

Only a few categories of people can get vaccinated right now including those 70 and older, but even then there are hundreds of people on a waiting list. The mobile health center will travel to people on waiting lists. 

The Salt Lake County Health Department’s Executive Director, Gary Edwards said the goal is outreach. 

“To be able to be more mobile in this effort as more doses become available and we can reach out to underserved and diverse communities in a more effective and efficient way,” said Edwards.

Mayor Wilson said more COVID-19 vaccine supply should be coming.

Booth said these RVs are versatile.

“We can also use these vans as a drive up and park it in a parking area like right here and then use a way to have people drive up and we can get tables out and use it as vaccine area,” said Booth. “We can use it as a drive up and we can use it as a walk-up.”

The Salt Lake County Health Department will post where it is going and when so people know when to watch out for them.

The Biden administration has said more vaccines should be coming so if that is the case, these RVs will be vaccinating more and more people. 

Almost 100,000 people in the county have been vaccinated. 

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