Wellness Van Vaccinates Vulnerable Communities

Southcoast Health Wellness Van Extends Vaccine Outreach to Vulnerable Communities

Since early April, The Southcoast Health Wellness Van has been out in the community providing the COVID-19 vaccine to residents of New Bedford, Fall River, Wareham and surrounding communities who are unable to access clinics at fixed locations.

The work is being done with the aid of local not-for-profit organizations with whom Southcoast has partnerships. These organizations are an incredible help to making the program a success by reaching out to individuals who they think could benefit from a mobile vaccination program.

“Many people living in our communities experience situations that make it difficult to access vaccination clinics. These challenges can be due to lack of information, linguistic barriers, or simply don’t have transportation,” says Rachel Davis, Director of Community Benefits for Southcoast.  

Wellness Van Administers Nearly 700 Vaccines

According to Ali Bettencourt, a Community Benefits Specialist, Southcoast has administered vaccinations to close to 700 individuals via the Wellness Van since April 5 (and nearly 100,000 doses in total at our public and internal clinics).

“Southcoast is committed to using the Wellness Van throughout the South Coast Region to further vaccine equity,” Ali says. “We’re working continually with our community partners to collaborate on this important initiative.”

Sixty-five percent or more of those receiving the vaccine though the Wellness Van live in areas with a moderate to high CDC Social Vulnerability Index (CDC SVI). The index uses 15 U.S. census variables such as poverty level, lack of vehicle access, and poor and crowded housing to determine the social vulnerability of a community.

Using the Wellness Van to vaccinate hard to reach populations makes a lot of sense. It’s an extension of what Southcoast did in using the Wellness Van for COVID-19 testing in the community.

“This effort is important to protecting people’s health and to rid our communities of this virus,” Rachel says. “As long as we have vaccine supply, we’ll be out there getting shots in people’s arms and helping the people of our region.”

For information on all Southcoast public vaccination clinics, including the upcoming dates, visit southcoast.org/covid-19-vaccination/.