GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Vaccine supply remains limited, but Prisma Health is trying to make vaccine distribution of the doses that are available more equitable.
The health system reports it’s expecting to receive fewer than 20,000 vaccine doses this week, which is less than a third of what it requested. This week the health system is also working out the details on their effort to roll out mobile vaccine units in early March.
“Our efforts are not to exactly be a mass vaccination site, but to come out to the community, where we have vulnerable communities that may not have access or the ability to get to our larger sites,” said Valeria Tucker, who is the manager for Prisma Health’s mobile clinics in the Upstate.
Last weekend, Prisma Health hosted a pilot to test the mobile vaccinations at Monaghan Baptist Church in the Berea area. Dozens of people were vaccinated there, including Sippio Wardlaw Jr., who says he got a phone call about the opportunity.
“[The caller] went on to help me fill out the application for the appointment, and it went through,” he said. “I wouldn’t have known about it unless she was out here calling me.”
Prisma Health is using data to identify areas that are underrepresented when it comes to getting the shot, whether that’s because of a lack of transportation or internet access. The health system is relying on community leaders to spread the word when the mobile units come to their area.
“We’re going to be engaging with our community partners, local elected officials, so that we can reach out to residents throughout these areas of South Carolina to ensure that there is access to this vaccine,” said Dr. Kerry Sease, who is overseeing the mobile vaccine effort for Prisma Health.
Prisma Health is also reaching out to African American communities to try to increase their vaccination rates, which is reportedly lagging.
“At the same time we’re working on the mobile strategy, we’re also focusing on…African Americans and other minority groups, to hopefully make the decision, this important decision, to receive the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Vince Ford, who is a senior vice president for community affairs at Prisma Health.
The first upstate mobile event will be March 6 in the western part of Greenville County, according to county councilman Ennis Fant.
Prisma Health is hoping to have as many as seven of these mobile units operating this summer.