Over the last two years, Blue Cross of Idaho worked to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines for all Idahoans. As part of that work, last year we donated $75,000 to help Saint Alphonsus buy a Ford Transit van and equip it to use as a mobile clinic to reach rural and underserved communities in Southwest Idaho.
"Blue Cross of Idaho is pleased to partner with Saint Alphonsus to help deliver the COVID-19 vaccine across the Idaho," said Charlene Maher, president and CEO of Blue Cross of Idaho. "Factors such as a lack of transportation, reliable digital access or a language barrier are challenges to care that we can overcome.
“The new mobile van can meet Idahoans in their communities and increases equity in reaching our farm workers, refugees or those experiencing homelessness. We are committed to the health of all Idahoans and are proud of our collaboration with Saint Alphonsus to better connect Idaho's rural communities,” Maher said.
The nearly 20-foot-long van was modified by Wandervans of Boise to include storage, extra seating and refrigeration to keep vaccines cold. This van is part of a fleet of vans increasing vaccination efforts through Saint Alphonsus’ existing mobile vaccine outreach program.
The mobile vaccine clinics offer COVID-19 vaccines as well as flu vaccines. So far, the mobile vaccine program has administered more than 1,200 COVID-19 vaccines.
These mobile vaccine vans have visited many communities across all parts of southwestern Idaho, including a focus on rural communities, as well as events and locations such as:
There are also upcoming mobile vaccine clinics that will be serving Magic Valley and Eastern Idaho. Stay tuned for more information on these clinics.
"COVID-19 has highlighted health inequities in the communities we serve," said Jennifer Palagi, vice president of Community Health and Well-Being at Saint Alphonsus Health System. "One of the most critical needs we've seen is access to healthcare in rural, underserved and medically fragile communities. That's why we launched our mobile vaccine program, to remove barriers to access.
“This generous gift from Blue Cross of Idaho enhances our ability to meet our mission – provide care for our patients where they live and offer these critical services," she said.
These vans are helping people get more convenient access to vaccines, including COVID-19, flu, and more, in communities where they otherwise wouldn’t have. These vans also help employers offer on-site vaccination clinics and have visited schools, churches, nonprofits and community centers, as well.
For more information on COVID-19
We post regular updates on COVID-19 news, including information on the vaccines, testing and the virus. Visit our COVID-19 Updates page at bcidaho.com/coronavirus for the latest information.