United Regional, WFAFB mobile pantry partnership helps get COVID-19 vaccines to public

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — As vaccine distribution continues at a steady pace in Wichita County, for some there are many obstacles.

That’s why there’s a partnership that’s making sure transportation doesn’t get in the way of getting us back to normal.

Not everyone is able to hop in the car and head to the doctor’s office or grocery store.

This is where the United Regional/Wichita Falls Area Food Bank mobile pantry partnership comes in.

“People are coming, we want to go where the people are gathering,” Manager of Chronic Disease at the URHCS Transition Clinic Jessica Sanchez said.

The mobile pantry hits the road to assist Wichita Falls residents with regular food and health needs.

United Regional brings at least one registered nurse, community health advocates, and now even medical assistant students from the WFISD.

They offer health screenings and the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We saw an opportunity to kind of come out to these little pop-up events around our area we realized, United Regional did, that we weren’t really meeting the needs of our whole community and getting out there and getting them vaccinated,” Sanchez said.

Once a patient arrives, United Regional staff will ask about a primary care physician.

Those without one and without insurance are referred to the transition clinic where they’ll get the preventative care they need.

“We actually do access all of them for the social determinates of health, we wanna know do you have transportation, can you afford your medications, can you afford a co-pay if you went to a primary care provider, do you have food and if you don’t we access them for all of those things,” Sanchez said. “Then we kind of go from there and realize what we need to do to make a game plan.”

Vaccines given at the mobile site are on a first come first serve basis.

“They don’t have to sign up, they don’t have to call, they don’t have to make an appointment and transportation is not an issue because it’s a walk-up,” URCHS Community Health Nurse Amy Pontius- Smith said.

“We would just encourage people to get the vaccine and to get that herd immunity so that we can all remain our daily activities and go back to kinda what we knew prior to COVID.”

Not only are staff there at the mobile pantry to administer shots and check your blood pressure, but they’re also there to ease your mind too.

“We actually have a pharmacist on staff whose coming out with us to the food bank and she can help educate and actually talk about numbers,” Pontius-Smith said. “Then that also helps with barriers about maybe they were scared about numbers or reactions or long term, maybe some health questions.”

Breaking these barriers with a moving space and a partnership for anyone to get their health in check.

Those who get a vaccine will come to the same pantry the next month for their second dose.

The next mobile pantry is April 28 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ben Donnell Housing Center.

You can find all of the locations and dates of the mobile pantry by clicking here.

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