Texarkana hospital hoping to up vaccination rates with mobile drive

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 1:21 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA, Texas (KSLA) - Health leaders say COVID-19 vaccines are plentiful in the ArkLaTex, but the demand is not as high, with many opting not to get the shot. One ArkLaTex hospital is trying to change this trend by going mobile.

Since COVID-19 vaccines became available in the area, officials with CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System in Texarkana say around 26,000 doses have been administered at their facilities. Now, hospital leaders are taking the service on the road.

“We’ve got plenty of vaccine, St. Michael’s got plenty of vaccine,” said Barbara Brown, a registered nurse at CHRISTUS St. Michael.

The Spirit of St. Michael Mobile Healthcare Unit has served the community for several years. Its mission now is taking the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to those who can’t make it to the hospital.

“We will travel, we will go into the homes, we will go into your churches, your organizations, your apartment complex, anywhere they would like for us to come,” Brown said.

Brown says the hospital has teamed up with the State of Texas to administer more than 600 doses of the vaccine by means of the mobile health unit.

“According to the State of Texas, they got plenty of vaccine to administer to everyone. They think that everybody in the state gets vaccinated,” she said.

The service is being provided to anyone within a 75-mile radius of Texarkana who is 18 years of age or older. Brown says the success of the program will be measured in the number of distributed doses, but so far, interest in the vaccine is not as great as it was earlier in 2021.

“Those at the beginning who wanted the vaccine greatly seek it out. Now, it is those that are still undetermined whether they want the vaccine or not that are trickling in,” she said.

CHRISTUS officials say they have until Aug. 7 to distribute the vaccine.

“It’s very important that everybody gets the vaccine. Of course, it’s your choice, but to get the vaccine now, there are more deaths in the United States from unvaccinated people,” Brown said.

If you want to schedule a visit, contact the hospital at 903-748-8573.

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