by Natasha Holt
GAINESVILLE, Fla.—Fleets of specially equipped, federally funded buses are rolling into targeted areas with the mission of convincing people to get the COVID-19 vaccine and giving the jabs on the spot to the newly persuaded.
Under a $6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teams in six states have worked since July to persuade visitors to the buses to take the COVID-19 vaccines. Their efforts have put 1,200 COVID-19 shots in arms, according to Catherine Striley of the University of Florida, who helps oversee the project.
For the $6 million investment, each taxpayer-funded vaccination has cost about $5,000.
Led by the University of Florida, eight universities share the goal of increasing adult vaccination rates in rural and minority communities as part of the program, Striley said. Targeted are areas identified as places “where health care skepticism is common and vaccination rates are low,” according to a prepared statement from UF Health, the medical network affiliated with the University of Florida (UF).
Universities partnering in the initiative are the University of Minnesota, Washington University in St. Louis, Montefiore Medical Center of Albert Einstein College, the University of Kentucky, the University of Missouri, Florida State University, and the University of California, Davis.
As part of the program, bus workers also have tested 2,600 people for COVID-19 and have presented educational materials about the illness and vaccines at community events with attendance totalling 260,000 people.
At UF in Gainesville, Fla., the new vaccine education and distribution program is called “Our Community, Our Health.” As part of the program, two mobile clinics set up in buses are used to “meet community members where they are,” and “tackle vaccine skepticism,” UF Health’s statement said.
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Note: This article is posted without comment and judgements on the ethics and wisdom of this program are left to the readers.