South Bay launches separate mobile vaccine efforts to reach housebound residents
The goal is to get COVID-19 vaccinations to those who need protection most. In Santa Clara County, it’s the same population able to get around the least- housebound residents.
“Being able to really reach them adequately is important,” Luisa Rapport with the Santa Clara County Fire Department. “And this will help kind of capture that last piece of the group that we really want to reach.”
In an effort, expected to launch within the next week, Rapport explained the department and other fire and EMS agencies across the county will use their own equipment to get doses out for in-home vaccine delivery and into long-term care facilities.
“It certainly could be a fire engine or an ambulance,” she continued. “But also likely could be a non-emergency vehicle, an SUV that’s in one of our fleets.”
Rapport said, “There’s going to be a handful of individuals on that vehicle, and they’re going to transport a small amount of vaccine to the residential facility, or to the residents, to deliver the vaccine.”
The mobile teams will be taking direction from the County Public Health Department.
“This is coordinated by Santa Clara County Public Health,” she clarified. “Facilitation of the delivery of the vaccines is Fire and EMF agencies.”
Rapport said the department is encouraging people to first find out if they qualify for their vaccine at SCCFreeVax.org.
“If they do qualify under the homebound criteria, and they live in a facility, the Public Health Department is currently contacting those facilities and working with them directly,” she said. “If you’re an individual and you’re homebound right now, the best thing to do is call 2-1-1 and get your information from them.”
Rapport added, “It definitely takes some effort for Public Health to kind of identify those groups and those individuals, and then get a list in place, and then get us out there.”
Currently, County Fire said it’s spending some time training personnel and ensuring they have the correct storage for their vehicles.
“So that we can keep the vaccine at the appropriate temperature and keep it stable when it’s going to these facilities, into these residences,” Rapport continued. “Some of our partners in the fire service have already been testing this process and have delivered some vaccines to areas of the county. So, we’ve got a good model in place and we’re ready to start delivering it when it’s time to do so.”
In another approach, announced on Monday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and county leaders pointed to nearly $200,000 dollars in funding for a new and separate mobile vaccine unit.
Money was raised by Silicon Valley companies and organizations.
This unit would similarly serve housebound, elderly, disabled, and other residents in underserved areas.
At a press conference, County Supervisor Cindy Chavez told reporters, “We have a lot of people to vaccinate. And while we’re moving quickly in our county, we can’t miss anybody that wants to be vaccinated.”
“Mobile units like this are going to allow us to make sure everybody in our community gets across the finish line,” she continued.
In order to get vaccines where they need to go, Rapport with County Fire said distribution is completely dependent on supply.