"I want to make you aware of an initiative “Pack the Church Bus” to bring seniors to one central location for their vaccines. Our goal is to ensure that everyone Age 65+ who wants the vaccine has access to get it. Some seniors want the vaccine, but will not ask someone to bring them, but they go to church with someone and they can get to a clinic that way if their church participates.
This was an idea by Sharon Whitley, Health Director, that she brought up to me last week, and I asked Michelle Brewer to assist with outreach as many churches who have helped with disasters have remained in contact with her, so she has good, current, contact information for many of our area churches. The first church who offered to host this was the First United Methodist Church in Kountze! I am very appreciative of them!! So, on March 7th, they will open their Family Life Center at Noon as a vaccine clinic and any church who wants to bring their seniors to this clinic are invited, encouraged and welcome to participate!
- Is this the only time we will do this? No! We will be glad to do this again and as often as needed to reach all seniors who want the vaccine.
- Is this limited to only those Age 65+? No! They are our priority and will get first shot at the vaccine. However, if there are more vaccine doses than people signed up, we will be glad to take others who want the vaccine. Our goal is 300 minimum per vaccine clinic held, especially when brining in staff to work on a Sunday. But, we need at least 75 in order to schedule.
- Does “Pack the Church Bus” mean to fill every seat and ignore social distancing? NO! Social distancing, sanitizing hands and wearing masks has not gone away, and should continue to be observed for the foreseeable future, especially during this event and other similar events.
- Can anyone else attend? Most likely. While we are focused on church groups and seniors, again, if we have more vaccine than people signed up to come, we will not limit participation although the public has had access to vaccine nearly every weekend during January and February.
- How does a church let us know they are interested? Any church who wants to participate should contact Michelle Brewer at (409) 209-5400 or via email by Tuesday to let her know they want to bring a group. She will send them a blank roster to be completed and returned to her by the end of the day on Wednesday. By close of business on Thursday, we will determine what time each church should bring their members and get that information out to them so they can plan accordingly. This has to do with making sure we don’t have more show up at the clinic than we can fit in there. Again, we have to follow social distancing at all times.
This same type of event can be scheduled by any Church or community. They just need to let us know they are interested – Wildwood recently did this and we are planning something similar there in the near future. We need at least 75 people who are interested in being vaccinated in order to put a team together and send them to a clinic like this on a weekend. We can vaccinate up to 150 per hour (75 people every 30 minutes) as long as we are at a facility capable of holding this many people at one time.
We can also do this for a corporation – We are scheduled to so this week at South Hampton Resources.
Any church, group, community, corporation, organization, etc. who is interested in this can reach out to me and I will be glad to work with them. If a couple of businesses wanted to join together to hold a vaccine clinic for their staffs, we can do that as well.
Additionally, Hardin County Public Health Department is keeping a list of those who are home-bound and cannot get out to be vaccinated, but want to get the vaccine. If you know of anyone who meets this criteria, please let us know so we can add them to the list. We will be scheduling a date to go to their homes to provide vaccine.
If anyone has any questions or suggestions, I am open to those as always!"