Healthy You - Every Day

LVHN Takes COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts on the Road

Colleague Laura Williams helps Mobile Vaccination Unit bring vaccine to communities throughout region

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is committed to providing everyone access to COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. In order to do that, LVHN began the mobile vaccination unit, which allows a team of LVHN providers to reach a large concentration of people eligible for the vaccine or booster, but unable to get to a clinic. Over the past nine months, the LVHN mobile vaccination unit has visited many sites including schools, skilled nursing facilities, community centers and more.

“The mobile vaccination unit is extremely important because it creates a safe and comfortable environment for those who are getting a vaccine. Sometimes getting a vaccine can cause some nervousness and inconvenience. By going on site, we are able to eliminate some of that,” says Laura Williams, outreach specialist, infection control.

Born out of necessity

Williams says the idea of the mobile vaccination unit was born out of necessity. “There was a large population that we weren’t able to vaccinate because they were unable to get to us;  it was important for us to get to them,” she says.

In March 2021, Bennett Toyota donated three new vehicles to transport vaccines, IT infrastructure (such as computers) and the medical team. The COVID-19 mobile vaccination unit serves all areas of our region and visits high-rises, community centers and other facilities to reach community members with limited transportation or other barriers that could keep them from receiving their COVID-19 vaccine or booster.

According to Williams, the mobile vaccination unit is generally on-site for two to three hours and averages about 200 vaccines during that time. She says that some weeks the mobile vaccination unit is at several locations, while others it may only be at one or two facilities.

Behind the scenes

Vaccinating a large number of people off-site is a team effort. “The mobile vaccination team is comprised of registration specialists, pharmacy colleagues, vaccinators, team leads, scribes and non-clinical support. There is a lot of logistics that need to take place before we ever step out the door,” says Williams.

To make sure each clinic runs smoothly, the team for the mobile vaccination unit follows a process to ensure they have everything they need from paperwork to supplies. All the materials needed for the mobile vaccination unit are kept at an LVHN site and loaded in and out of the van as needed. Once the team is on-site, they are able to provide vaccinations without interruption.

Willliams says that during cleanup, the team does inventory to make sure all necessary paperwork is accounted for and all unused vaccines and supplies are stored properly.  

A grateful community

Williams says the reaction to the service has been overwhelmingly positive. “People have been so grateful that they have the opportunity to get the vaccines that they need without having to worry about how to schedule it or how to get there,” she says.

It’s a sentiment that is echoed by many who have been vaccinated through the mobile vaccination unit, including Gladys Pickering, a resident of Luther Crest in Allentown. “I was so thrilled when I heard that LVHN was coming to us. It was important because we have an elderly population who can’t always be mobile enough to get out to get their vaccines, so this helps protect them and everyone here in our community,” she says.

Michelle Rojas, RN, Emergency Medicine, Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton

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