The state's department of health is deploying the retrofitted buses to administer vaccines in hard-to-reach communities.
With a 40% reduction in service during the pandemic, Metro Transit, the Twin Cities' public transit agency, had some buses to spare. Meanwhile, some people in the state had difficulties accessing COVID-19 vaccines in their neighborhoods. "In Minnesota, as in many states, Black, Hispanic and Native American residents have received disproportionately fewer vaccine doses." To help get more people vaccinated, writes Henry Pan in Next City, "the Minnesota Department of Health, along with Metro Transit and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, debuted six buses specifically retrofitted to provide COVID-19 vaccines in areas where people need it the most."
The buses "are dispatched to a part of the state if the state health department finds an “obvious gap” in vaccine access. The health department works with partners in the community to identify these gaps, which can include a fear of crowds given social distancing guidelines, a lack of access to transportation and technology, free time, or poor English proficiency. Community organizations can also reach out to the health department to request a vaccine bus."
"Speaking to the challenges of getting people to vaccination events, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota spokesperson Jenna Carter says, 'With each and every location, we learn there is no cookie-cutter solution, and each site is custom to the community, so we work hard every day to ensure we are customizing our approach and solution for each community.'"
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