COVID-19 vaccines hit the road

CMU’s Mobile Health Clinic takes vaccines to rural Michigan communities

| Author: Heather Smith

One year since the first coronavirus case was reported in Michigan and just one week after administering the first vaccination at a university-run clinic on its campus in Mount Pleasant, Central Michigan University hit the road to administer vaccines to vulnerable Michiganders.

Students, faculty and staff from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions at CMU took the Mobile Health Central vehicle to two rural Michigan communities — St. Louis and Edmore — to set up shop and administer vaccinations to their residents. Through the partnership with the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, which serves Gratiot, Clinton and Montcalm Counties, more than 100 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were administered to vulnerable individuals age 60 and above.

"Rural areas pose unique challenges for Michiganders to get their COVID-19 vaccinations," said Helen Lee, Mobile Health Central's coordinator of community outreach. "This partnership with the MMDHD minimizes transportation barriers by going to the people rather than expecting them to drive long distances to see us."

730x410_2021-037-005 Mobile Health Clinic COVID Vaccinations as
Physician assistant student Nana Asante administers a COVID-19 vaccine in CMU's Mobile Health Central to a patient in St. Louis, Michigan.

Learning through doing

While the goal of the mobile clinics is to protect the health and well-being of people living outside of the more populated areas of central Michigan, it also serves as an outstanding learning opportunity for future health care professionals.

Students and faculty from CMU's nursing, physician assistant and public health programs led the mobile clinics, from greeting patients to vaccine administration. The MMDHD led efforts to connect with approved priority groups for vaccination eligibility to schedule appointments.

"This COVID-19 vaccination clinic is the ideal interprofessional education and practice endeavor for our students," Lee said. "Various health professions programs came together as a team to administer COVID-19 vaccines to community members."

On the road again

Mobile Health Central will return to the Edmore Village Hall on Tuesday, March 23, to vaccinate another 20 residents and then proceed to Belvedere Township Hall to administer an additional 60 doses.

Lee said she hopes CMU — with the assistance of Mobile Health Central — will receive even more vaccine to hold future clinics throughout the state.

Tom Masterson, dean of CMU's Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions, recognized the impact CMU is having on the fight against the pandemic, particularly in Michigan.

"We are excited about this opportunity to partner with MMDHD to be a part of the more than two million vaccinations being given daily in our country," Masterson said. "Through collaborative efforts such as these, we will see the percentage of Michigan's population that is vaccinated continue to climb, in turn preventing the spread of the coronavirus within families, co-workers, neighbors and friends. Our goal is to contribute to that."

Learning and leading through the pandemic

Throughout the past year, the Central Michigan University community has played a significant role in the fight against COVID-19. Read more about how the university community has persevered and set the leadership standard throughout the pandemic.

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