Making the vaccine easily accessible.
Providing easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine is an essential element of the Battle Creek VA Medical Center distribution plan. As such, the plan focuses on both equitable access and simple ways to get Veterans vaccinated.
“We want to meet Veterans where they live to remove the barriers” said Michelle Martin. Martin is the Battle Creek VA Medical Center director. “With that in mind, we are taking the COVID-19 vaccine on the road and offering walk-in clinics.”
The first mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic for the Battle Creek VAMC was held a little more than an hour south of the facility in Sturgis, Michigan. Located in rural St. Joseph County, Sturgis is a small central town surrounded by many lakes and farming communities.
Local partnerships make event a success
The mobile vaccination clinic was coordinated with the St. Joseph County Center on Aging, the Health Department, and the County Veteran Service Office. The event on March 5 was a success due to local coordination and partnerships. Veterans could walk-in to receive their vaccine, making it easy and convenient.
The mobile trailer can accommodate up to three Veterans at a time for various outpatient services. The COVID-19 immunization team utilizes the space provided through community partners (pictured above) when possible due to the Michigan weather.
The medical center also has drive-thru clinics scheduled in the more rural areas where Veterans are vaccinated in their cars.
Clinics set up in rural communities.
On the road to 22 Michigan counties
The team is now gearing up to hit a variety of towns across the 22 counties in southwest Michigan. There are plans in the works to visit towns like Dowagiac, Coldwater, Ludington, Allegan, and many more. Walk-in clinics help to remove the burden of scheduling and help make it easier for Veterans.
The Medical Center is coordinating with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), County Veterans Service Offices, Health Departments, Veterans Service Organizations, and other private groups and organizations who are willing to lend a hand to this effort.
Mobile vaccination team goals are to educate Veterans about the safety, effectiveness and importance of the vaccine. Also, they make the vaccine easily accessible to help remove barriers to getting vaccinated.
Information is regularly updated on the hospital website and shared on social media as new events are planned.
Army Veteran Brian Pegouske is a public affairs officer for the Battle Creek VA.