UMMC Grenada takes COVID-19 vaccine on the road
Published on Monday, October 18, 2021
By: Ruth Cummins, firstname.lastname@example.org
When you live in the rural corners of the extended Grenada County region, traveling to a hospital or clinic for care isn’t a given.
That’s why the University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada is bringing the Pfizer vaccine and booster to residents of Grenada and adjacent counties. “In these rural areas, we have a high incidence of people who don’t have adequate transportation,” said Kris Ballard, a registered nurse with UMMC Grenada and the hospital’s community educator. “They sometimes have to wait for Medicaid to provide a ride, or they might have to pay for one.”
The hospital is bringing its Mobile Vaccine Clinic to schools, businesses, churches and other community centers and organizations by request. Those interested can call Ballard at 662-227-7256 to get the ball rolling.
“We have an underserved population that we are missing,” said Jamie Cuykendall, associate director of ambulatory operations at UMMC Grenada. “Kris and her team are educating the community about the importance of the vaccine and why it’s imperative that we push toward completing the two-part dose.”
The vaccine clinic and education outreach covers a wide region: Grenada, Holmes, Madison, Yalobusha, Calhoun, Webster, Montgomery, Carroll, Leflore, Tallahatchie, Attala, Yazoo and Humphreys counties.
“Nothing is off limits to us,” Cuykendall said. “We will come to any area we can possibly get to. No entity is too small.”
Those scheduled for a visit include First Baptist Church of Lexington in Holmes County. The Mobile Vaccine Clinic will be there at 2 p.m. Oct. 24.
“We’re a much older congregation,” said Jo Michael, administrative assistant at the 200-member church. Many have chronic conditions that make it wise for them to be vaccinated, she said.
“We appreciate the opportunity for UMMC Grenada to come here,” Michael said.
Those receiving a vaccine don’t need to show identification, but simply to fill out a form with their name, date of birth and Social Security number if they know it, Ballard said. If they’re already a UMMC patient, their information will already be on file.
“We will come back to give the second vaccine,” Ballard said. “If you’re getting the booster, please bring your CDC vaccine card.”
Ballard is offering education for any school, church, business or community group that would like to secure her as a speaker. “I’ve received all of the CDC training on the vaccine and will be glad to answer anyone’s questions,” Ballard said.
“That is a huge element that we are missing,” Cuykendall said. “When our community members get the vaccine, they might miss out on the education element, and that’s as important as getting the vaccine.”
“This is an exciting time for us,” she said. “We think we can make a huge impact for our community.”