Thrive offers rides to COVID clinic

Attendees of the county's vaccination clinic can get a free ride by calling Thrive at 620-365-8128. The transportation program aims to remove one of the biggest obstacles for the elderly in getting vaccinated.

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February 12, 2021 - 2:06 PM

Thrive Allen County is offering free rides to Thursday’s vaccination clinic. Courtesy photo

A local organization is offering rides to the COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Beginning Thursday, Thrive Allen County will provide transportation to the clinics. Thursday’s is targeted to Allen County residents age 85 and older. The clinic starts at 10 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m., or until vaccine supplies run out, at the Community Building in Riverside Park.

The clinic is organized by the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Departments.

Because the clinic is targeted to the elderly, who are most at risk of serious complications from the virus, it’s important to provide as much assistance as possible to help them attend the clinic, Kate Schroeder, communications and development coordinator for Thrive, said.

“A lot of the people who need the vaccine the most are the ones who have the most difficulty in securing transportation,” Schroeder said. “They might not own a vehicle or can no longer drive, especially in this wintry weather we’ve been having. We want to eliminate as many obstacles as we can to help people get this vaccine.”

Mobility also could be a problem. Thrive will offer a handicapped-accessible van.

Weather forecasts for Thursday call for temperatures in the upper 20s, a slight warming trend from the current single-digit highs, but with a possibility of more snow over the next few days and again on Wednesday. 

Anderson County had its first public COVID vaccination clinic this past Wednesday. As with the Bourbon County clinic earlier in the week, organizers expanded the clinic to include those 75 and older.

About 180 people attended the clinic, and volunteers were in the parking lot to assist them with walking into the facility where the shots were being given.

The high temperature on Wednesday was around 14.

THRIVE’S decision to offer transportation to the clinic came from discussions with local health officials on Feb. 1, Schroeder said.

“That was something they mentioned as a major obstacle other communities are experiencing,” she said. 

Logistics are still being worked out, but Schroeder asks anyone who wants to schedule a ride to call 620-365-8128. 

Because there is a risk the clinic could run out of vaccine supplies, it’s important to make arrangements as quickly as possible.

It’s also important to reach out to those who may qualify for this round of vaccinations, Schroeder said. The elderly are less likely to utilize social media, and may not be aware of the clinic or the transportation program. 

“It’s a big challenge. A lot of them are scared to go out in public right now. They aren’t leaving their houses, and they depend on people looking out for them,” Schroeder said. “Do what you can to reach out to folks. We want a healthy community created by a connected community.”

Thrive plans to offer transportation at following clinics, too. 

CLINIC organizers ask attendees to arrive no earlier than 9:30 a.m. Thursday before lining up in their vehicles at Riverside Park. 

That’s to allow volunteers to access the clinic site. Traffic will be one-way into and out of the park.

Schroeder said she talked with someone who attended the Anderson County clinic, who said there was a lengthy line of vehicles waiting at the site.

Other things to note when attending Thursday’s clinic:

Vaccine supplies are limited, and the clinic will end when supplies run out. The clinics are targeting specific age groups as supplies become available.

Only Allen County residents are eligible for this clinic. 

Masks are required.

Wear short sleeves under layers of clothes, to allow easy access to your arm, but with enough clothing to stay warm.

Download and complete consent forms ahead of time. Find them at sekmchd.com, or pick up a form at the Allen County Health Department, Iola Recreation Department, G&W Foods, Allen County Courthouse and Iola Public Library.

You cannot take the vaccine if you had any vaccine in the past 14 days, such as for the flu or shingles; if you are in isolation or quarantine; or if you have received Bamlivinimab as treatment for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.

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