St. Luke’s Health System is allowing organizations—such as churches, community groups and businesses—to request the services of its new COVID-19 vaccine mobile unit.
Starting this week, companies and organizations in rural and underserved parts of Idaho are providing locations for St. Luke’s to administer COVID-19 vaccinations at no cost. Patients will be served on a walk-in, first-come, first-served basis.
The retrofitted RV is set up to provide hundreds of COVID-19 vaccinations each day, with no appointment necessary, St. Luke’s stated. It will travel at the request of community groups and companies that would like to host a vaccination event. The goal is to reach regions hardest hit by coronavirus, areas where vulnerable populations live and work, and communities where access to the vaccine has been limited.
To host an event, organizations will have to provide a parking space for the RV, organize people who would like to be vaccinated and help St. Luke’s with scheduling. The service is free. St. Luke’s will provide interpretation services at no cost.
Accommodations will be made for those who are unable to access the mobile unit. Patients with limited mobility should stay in their vehicle and call 208-513-3413 when they arrive at the vaccination location and St. Luke’s staff will go to them. Directions will also be provided on site.
To schedule an event, organizations can fill out an interest form on the St. Luke’s website, at stlukesonline.org.
The mobile unit is already scheduled to be in Blaine County for several days starting on May 10, as well as in early June. Locations include The Hunger Coalition in Bellevue and the Wood River Community YMCA in Ketchum. The schedule and updates can be viewed on the vaccine page of the St. Luke’s website.
Vaccines will also still be offered by appointment at St. Luke’s clinics.
“Idaho is a rural state and many of our communities are isolated,” said Scott Milner, St. Luke’s senior director of pharmacy. “People there haven’t had the same access to the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s why we’re taking the vaccine to them.”
St. Luke’s plans to use both one-dose and two-dose vaccine brands for the mobile-unit visits, with vaccines available to all people ages 16 and older. Minors must have parental consent or an exemption.
“We encourage community partners to support this effort and help us vaccinate their employees, customers, clients, neighbors, friends and family members by just reaching out and working with us,” Milner said.