The “Vaxmobile,” a Covid-19 vaccine mobile unit that has roved the communities of Nassau County for more than a year administering vaccines to residents, stopped at the Franklin Square Public Library on Feb. 24.
Launched by the Town of Hempstead in early 2021 and staffed with a clinical unit from Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital in Oceanside, the vaxmobile stopped in Hempstead, Freeport, Uniondale, Elmont and other communities across Nassau five days per week in 2021.
Eleven vaccines were administered by MSSN staff on Feb. 24 at the Franklin Square Public Library.
While the mobile unit has administered over 11,000 vaccines throughout the entire pandemic, the hospital has experienced lower numbers of vaccination since the end of the Omicron wave and the lower positive case numbers seen in Nassau County this month.
Early on, the vaxmobile partnered with local senior centers to distribute vaccines to the elderly, whom the science pointed to as the most vulnerable population in society to Covid-19, said Joe Calderone, a spokesman for Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital.
“At every iteration, at every twist and turn, we’ve pivoted,” he said, adding that the vaxmobile partnered with school districts when children became eligible for the various vaccines and has continued to target groups especially in need as conditions have changed throughout the pandemic.
Calderone said creating easy access to vaccines has been key to the vaxmobile’s success in vaccinating Nassau residents. “The main lesson learned is you just have to make it as easy as possible for people,” he said. “They don’t have time, necessarily, to hunt down an appointment for a vaccine,” Calderone added, recounting the vaccination by hospital staff of two workers from Island Park who requested to keep their white aprons on because they needed to hurry back to work following being vaccinated.
“Being able to make vaccines so accessible for people is a huge thing that we’re doing,” said Amber Vitale, a family nurse practitioner and director of Covid-19 community services at MSSN, in a previous Herald story.
She added that the Vaxmobile has been particularly helpful for reaching out to and vaccinating seniors. “We’ve been able to break down those barriers,” she said. “We’re right here in your backyard, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t get your booster,” Vitale said about the need to receive booster shots.
“These guys are working 12 hours a day, they don’t have time to get a vaccine sometimes,” he said. “Making it easy for people is the key.”
Calderone said many county residents are yet to receive booster does of a Covid-19 vaccine, and that providing these shots to residents is the vaxmobile’s current focus.
“That’s what we’re concentrating on,” he said, adding that the vaxmobile is partnering with schools, libraries, senior centers, and businesses to continue vaccinating residents. “We’re looking for those kinds of partnerships, so please give us a call,” Calderone said.
For more information about the mobile vaccination unit, visit https://www.southnassau.org/sn/vaxmobile