Local efforts to ensure equitable vaccine distribution

Rachel Mills
Updated: March 29, 2021 05:32 PM
Created: March 29, 2021 04:29 PM

(ABC 6 News) - The more people who have access to the vaccine, the quicker the world will get back to normal and more lives will be saved. Now, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted County Public Health, and the Olmsted Medical Center are teaming up to ensure everyone has easy access to Covid vaccines.

"It's almost easier to look at this effort in two different parts. The first one being education and outreach. And we've really tried hard to make sure we're really getting out and answering the questions of our community regarding Covid. And then also the Covid-19 vaccines," Shay Baumbach, Olmsted County Public Health manager, said. 

State officials are tracking the race of those getting the shots, and the data shows vaccinations are skewed towards white Minnesotans., while communities of color often suffer worse from the disease.

Some officials have guessed it may be linked to education or transportation, while some said it's fear.

To combat inequities locally, health partners in Olmsted County are working on a few solutions.

"There's a huge group of us and we've been meeting more than once weekly to ensure that we really truly are reaching out to as many groups that might have questions or concerns," Baumbach said.  

When it comes to education and outreach, they rely on leaders within the communities to educate people about the vaccine.  

"We're really turning to those who are in the community to understand what the questions are and what resources are needed," Baumbach said. 

The biggest project in the works is removing the barrier of transportation to vaccine sites.

"When I say removing the barrier of transportation what I mean is trying to think of where could we establish some community clinics that are not currently at Olmsted County Public Health, Mayo Clinic or OMC. Where potentially it's in their neighborhoods or maybe it's at the church that they attend," Baumbach said. 

State officials are having conversations about mobile vaccination sites, but health officials in Olmsted County have not heard of or made any plans to get them into our area yet.

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