TAMPA, Fl.-- — Hillsborough County is planning for ways to make sure those without access to reliable transportation can receive a COVID19 vaccine.
County officials said they are planning to use mobile units.
“We will be reaching out to every corner of the county. We’ve identified a number of sites where there’s a good concentration of folks who are 65 and older. We’ll be sending mobile units to those sites, setting up camp for a day or two and making sure we get them vaccinated as quickly as possible,” deputy county administrator Greg Horwedel told Hillsborough County commissioners during a Jan. 6th meeting.
He noted much of it would depend on vaccine supply from the state.
“We are planning for a mobile option to reach our most vulnerable. Everyone can’t make it out to our site. We’re working with our aging services department in Hillsborough County and the department of health. So we have a ready list, we already served those individuals,” said Tim Dudley, the director of emergency management for Hillsborough County.
The county previously used mobile units to bring testing to those who couldn’t get to testing sites.
Right now this effort is still being planned.
“We get about 5 to 10 calls a day for people asking for information about the testing so that’s just an indication of the need that exists and what an impediment it will be for vaccination,” said Elizabeth Gutierrez, the founder and CEO of Enterprising Latinas.
The non-profit in part helps the Wimauma community.
Gutierrez said there, much of the population is considered essential workers.
“They are concerned for themselves and they’re concerned for their children and we hear from them every day,” she said.
She said there is a challenge for some with access to transportation, including seniors.
“We have families right now who are paying sometimes $20 dollars per ride to private individuals that are providing them service to take them no more than 5 miles to be able to access medical care to be able to access insurance,” she said.
She hopes mobile efforts can reach Wimauma.
But while so many wait for the vaccine, she urges people to stay informed and connected.