JEFFERSON CITY — With COVID-19 vaccines continuing to ramp up, for some, there’s a problem: how to physically get there to receive a dose. To that end, the Cole County Health Department plans to partner with local Jefferson City churches to get people vaccinated.
The partnership comes amid the launch of Jefferson City’s latest mass vaccination site at the Capital Mall Monday.
Chezney Schulte, Cole County Health Department communicable disease coordinator, said the new site is ideal due to its transportation accessibility.
“The Capital Mall was a great decision for us because of the maintenance and upkeep that was available that parking, handicap accessibility, a bus stop being right there at that location,” Schulte said. “So many great factors of why that was the right decision for us and why I think it will be good for the community.”
Right now, the department has only talked to churches on a “casual level to gauge interest.” So far, the department has not had any agree to the program.
The details of how the churches might get the people to the vaccination location is currently unclear. However, Schulte suggested that religious organizations could help bus large groups to the mall.
“We’re kind of just waiting to see how this first week goes at the vaccine site, what the demand is for vaccines, what that interest level is to make sure that we can accommodate larger groups,” Schulte said. “I would encourage people to reach out to us if that is something that will be right for your church, your organization, if you have a group of people interested.
As far as vaccine-goers, Schulte recommends people take advantage of transportation resources that are there and that will come in the coming weeks.
“I would just encourage people who think that there are transportation obstacles, to reach out to the state, to reach out to us to access those resources online,” Schulte said. “There’s tons of resources that they can look into, so just don’t let that be an obstacle because we’d really like to address that.”
KOMU 8 also reached out to St. Peter Catholic Church about transportation to vaccine sites. The church already has the St. Vincent de Paul Society program, which transports people to doctors appointments and vaccination sites.