Coronavirus

Marion County health officials to deploy mobile vaccination units

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana State Health Department on Friday announced more than 2 million vaccination doses have been administered to Hoosiers, and nearly 800,000 Hoosiers were fully vaccinated.

Marion County Public Health Department is working to increase those doses by deploying mobile vaccination units to reach minority Hoosiers.

“We want to make sure we’re having an equitable distribution of the vaccines to everyone,” said MCPHD director Dr. Virginia Caine. “Especially anyone that’s meeting our highest risk populations for complications, hospitalizations, and death related to the COVID-19 infection.”

Which is why the department has plans to use mobile hot-spot vaccinations.

“We are working with some faith-based institutions and hospital systems. We’re even working with some fraternities. Planning on doing some mobile hot-spot vaccinations in the areas,” said Caine.

Dr. Caine said the department is looking at where some of Indiana’s hard-to-reach populations are not being vaccinated.

“Getting to hard-hit communities is going to be key, because in order for us all to get back to whatever this new normal is going to be, we all have to be vaccinated,” said Marshawn Wolley, Policy Director at the African-American Coalition of Indianapolis.

As of Friday, state data shows only 5% of first-dose vaccinations are in the arms of Black Hoosiers, 2.3% in Hispanic or Latino Hoosiers, and 1.7% in Asian Hoosiers.

“It’s still important for our community to continue to seek vaccination because of the fact that virus is still out here and it can have a detrimental impact, really, on our health due to the comorbidities of asthma and other issues,” said Wolley.

The African-American Coalition of Indianapolis supports the idea.

“It’s again, one of those situations where Dr. Caine has stepped up and provided a kind of leadership from an equitable perspective, that can potentially really help a lot of people,” said Wolley. “Folks have to step forward and have to take advantage of the opportunity that’s being presented and I believe that the community will. This is an excellent idea, glad that it’s happening.”

Thursday, Dr. Caine said they are also working to address vaccinating homeless Hoosiers as well.

“We have got to definitely address our homeless populations as well.” Dr. Caine explained Thursday.

Dr. Caine said Hoosiers can expect to know the exact locations of these mobile hot-spot vaccination units in the coming weeks.

If you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Indiana, go to ourshot.in.gov to register or call 211 to get started.

Statement

“IUL is heartened to learn of Dr. Caine’s decision to institute a mobile vaccination program to reach out to the hardest hit and most infection vulnerable communities in Indianapolis, especially communities of color, affected by the COVID19 virus. As you are aware, when the plague of COVID19 began in 2020, it hit disproportionately hard in Indiana’s urban communities and Blacks and Latinx persons were hit very hard. The Indianapolis Urban League is pleased that the Marion County Health Department, under Dr. Caine’s most capable leadership, has decided to be pro-active in urging the community to be vaccinated and wholeheartedly supports this initiative. Currently, the Indianapolis Urban League has been using its headquarters on Indiana Avenue as a community satellite location to deliver the Pfizer vaccination in partnership with Walmart for essential workers and those of age to receive the vaccination. More than 2,400 Hoosiers have received their first dose since February 25th, with second doses beginning next week. The remote site operates Thursday through Sunday with 50% of Blacks and people of color visiting on Thursday and on other days 30% of those vaccinated are Black or people of color.  A remote location offers individuals who may not otherwise have been vaccinated due to residing in a pharmacy and/or healthcare desert, an opportunity to be inoculated. The Indianapolis Urban League pledges its full and enthusiastic support for this important and much-needed community health initiative.”

Mark Russell, director of advocacy and family services, Indianapolis Urban League

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