By Tom Travis
A mobile COVID-19 and Flu vaccination unit will be in the neighborhoods surrounding E. Pierson Road and Dort Highway from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 13. A new community collaboration is bringing COVID vaccines, water, meals and other resources to Flint neighborhoods again this week, with free lunch, COVID-19 vaccines and flu vaccines available.
The approved pediatric COVID-19 vaccination is not yet available from the mobile units but is available throughout Genesee County. Vaccination sites for the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine can be found at this link: www.gchd.us/vaccinescheduler.
The mobile vaccination units provide Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines. Booster vaccines for all three brands are administered as well.
The Greater Flint Health Coalition (GFHC) has created a partnership with Genesee Community Health Center (GCHC), the Genesee County Community Action Resource Department’s (GCCARD) Meet Up and Eat Up program, and the United Way of Genesee County (UWGC) to provide neighborhood-based COVID-19 vaccine opportunities for residents.
Flint resident was “scared” of the vaccine but overcame her hesitancy
Flint resident, Juliette Hardwick has lived in Flint since she was one. “I was born in a house in Tuscaloosa, Alabama,” Hardwick said. She worked for Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) working with autistic children.
“I had surgery in October 2020 and after I got home from that started to cough real bad — it wouldn’t go away. I had COVID.” She said she came home after the surgery for her recovery period because she did not want to stay at the hospital.
Hardwick said she had some hesitancy about getting the vaccine, “I was scared of it,” she said. She explained that her daughter’s father, her aunt, and, just two weeks ago, a cousin died from COVID, motivating her to get the vaccine.
Registered nurse Blanche May, explained the mobile vaccination team stays behind at least 15 minutes after they administer the vaccine in case the patient has a reaction.
Meager increases in Genesee County vaccinations
According to the Genesee County Health Department 47.7 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated, an increase of one per cent from the previous week. In the county 364,414 have received all the doses and 198,140 have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The local mobile vaccination units are not providing COVID vaccine for children yet. GFHC officials say that will be forthcoming. The Pfizer (both pediatric and adult) COVID vaccine along with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine is available in Genesee County, some of those locations can be found at this link: www.gchd.us/vaccinescheduler. The Centers for Disease Control has announced the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available for children ages 5 to 17.
Each vaccine mobile unit is staffed with nurses and outreach workers from the partner organizations to provide education about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines are available in each mobile unit.
Residents should look for the “Meet Up and Eat Up” truck (pictured below) or the Genesee Community Health van.
Greater Flint Health Coalition community health workers from Genesee CHAP (Community Health Access Program) are also present on each trip to connect residents to other community resources and support services if needed, according to a press release from The Greater Flint Health Coalition.
The Genesee County Health Department website states that Genesee County has a COVID-19 positivity rate of 17.4 per cent as of Nov. 5 — an increase of 4.7 per cent from last month. The CDC website also notes that 19.8 per cent of Genesee County population is “living in poverty.” The mobile vaccination units traveling throughout the greater Flint area are especially targeting low-income areas.
If groups or organizations are interested in having a mobile COVID-19 outreach in their area they can contact Nichole Smith-Anderson at the GFHC at email@example.com or by calling (810)232-2228.
Updated information about COVID-19 vaccinations can be found at GFHC website www.gfhc.org/about/covid-19 and also at the Genesee County Health Department website www.gchd.us/coronavirus.
EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.