NewsVaccine in Arizona


Mobile Health Unit assists with vaccinations in underserved communities

Posted at 10:59 AM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 13:59:19-04

PHOENIX — Tuesday was the last day for COVID-19 vaccinations at Harmon Park. The pop-up site in coordination with Maricopa County, the City of Phoenix, and the University of Arizona was working to reach individuals in underserved communities.

According to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services, there are between 1,000 and 5000 people vaccinated in the 85003 zip code.

Parts of Tempe, Scottsdale Peoria, and Chandler have over 10,000 residents vaccinated, according to state data.

Jeffery Hanna is a research coordinator for the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health. He says many residents in parts of south Phoenix do not have transportation or internet access. He says they’ve been working with senior and public housing facilities to sign them up.

“It was the surrounding area of the 85003,” Hanna said. “Our focus was really to bridge the barriers a lot of individuals in the community experience whether it’s lack of transportation, language barriers, we really want to be able to remove those and to basically educate and empower individuals to get the vaccine.”

Hanna says they are using their mobile health unit to administer the vaccines. Prior to COVID-19, the unit would drive throughout the county providing health screenings to underserved communities.

“What’s really beautiful is prior to the pandemic our mobile unit and our health educators have built this trust within the community and the partners,” Hanna said. “So, while we’re out there giving the vaccine, it’s a familiar face. It’s not someone new. So, there’s that trust that’s basically championing for the vaccine to be administered to those individuals.”

Since opening on March 17, Hanna says the goal was to get 2,500 vaccinated at Harmon Park. As of Monday night, they were close to reaching that goal with about 2,100 vaccinated.

The mobile health unit is currently assisting 15-20 sites across Maricopa County. Hanna says they will be going to rural communities and vaccinating migrant farm workers later this week.