AUSTIN (KXAN) — Minnie Carrington is a lifelong Austinite and retired nurse. Last year, the woman who has cared for so many, became bedridden. Several months later, the difficult search began for a vaccine.
“I starting asking the nurses, ‘When are we going to get ours?’ and they never could tell me,” Carrington explained.
Through a partnership with her church, Mt. Zion and UT-Austin’s School of Nursing, she was finally able to get her shot.
“That’s what took a lot of the stress away and she was very relieved to know that she’s vaccinated now,” said Carrington’s daughter, Madeline McCauley.
She said that relief came from two new initiatives through The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. The school is providing the COVID-19 vaccine to many Austin-area residents who have limited or no access to appointments.
The first vaccination delivery program is “Vaccine Administration Mobile Operations” (VAMOS), a mobile clinic set up at local churches, including Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Rehoboth Baptist Church, and other community sites.
The other program is “Vaccinate, No Waste” (VaxNow), in which the school says extra vaccines prepared in excess of scheduled appointments are taken to individuals who are homebound or have difficulty accessing vaccination appointments. These efforts helped people like 100-year-old Erma Williams.
Erma Williams and Dr. Shalonda Horton, School of Nursing faculty member. Williams received both doses at her home (Courtesy of UT Austin School of Nursing)
The school says the goal is to bring vaccines into communities at high risk for suffering severe COVID-related outcomes, in particular, people with underlying chronic conditions.
“The partnership is set up to provide quick and nimble mobile vaccine clinics for small groups in the communities that need help the most,” said Stephanie Morgan, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, director of Practice Innovation for the School of Nursing. “This includes making sure residents of underserved communities who are most susceptible to the virus and the least likely to have access to the internet and transportation get vaccinated.”
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Organizers say the mobile clinics are helping to reduce barriers by offering a tailored outreach and a trusted and personalized registration experience.
People can email VAMOS@utexas.edu if they’re interested in being put on a standby list for the VaxNow vaccination program. They can also request that the mobile VAMOS clinic schedule a visit to a certain part of town.