Traveling clinic provides onsite COVID-19 vaccine at local businesses

A new program led by the Midland Business Alliance could make it easier for local businesses to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to their employees.

The Midland Business Alliance (MBA) is partnering with MidMichigan Health and the Midland County Department of Public Health to offer a traveling clinic that can administer the vaccines on-site at any local business. Any employer located within Midland County can register to host a clinic. There are no limitations on number of employees or work site size.

The Vaccines on the Road program is available free of charge to businesses. As an added incentive, participants in the clinic will receive a $25 gift certificate to one of several sponsoring local restaurants.

Any employer located within Midland County can register to host a clinic.At each clinic, medical professionals from MidMichigan Health and the Midland County Department of Public Health will dispense the vaccines to interested employees. The health care staff can also distribute informational literature and provide a short presentation on vaccine science, development history, safety, and potential side effects. Participants can choose from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

Overcoming hurdles to vaccination

“Part of getting the economy reopened and making people feel safe is getting as many people vaccinated as possible, and so we started talking with different businesses to try to find out what the hurdles were for them,” says Jennifer Bruzewski, MBA vice president of marketing & communications. “We discovered that many places have hourly workers or have issues with travel time or taking time off work. So we decided to bring the vaccine clinic to the businesses to make it as convenient as possible to get people vaccinated.”

Although there are many hurdles to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, workplace-related concerns are often at the forefront. A Kaiser Family Foundation Vaccine Monitor poll found that between 41% and 64% of respondents (depending on demographics) were concerned about missing work for vaccination.

The mobile vaccine clinic provides a convenient option for workers to get vaccinated without missing much work.“We are trying to eliminate these hurdles by offering this program,” says Bruzewski. “We're really trying to work with the businesses to show them how easy it is to schedule a clinic, and as soon as they are interested, we're ready to go.”

Get reliable medical information on vaccines

With many people expressing concerns over vaccine safety and efficacy amid widespread misinformation, getting the facts about vaccines from medical professionals is essential. At the Vaccines on the Road clinics, health care professionals from MidMichigan Health and the Midland County Department of Public Health can talk to each person directly about any questions relating to vaccines and their individual health conditions. A physician will be available at each clinic.

“We are hoping that having health professionals on hand at the clinics with information and presentations, and being able to talk with them about safety and ease any concerns will be helpful to stop any misinformation people may have,” says Bruzewski.

MidMichigan Health’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, Lydia Watson, M.D., reiterates the importance of discussing immunizations one-on-one with health care providers. Doctors can explain the medical science behind vaccine development, provide a big-picture view of potential side effects, and explain how getting vaccinated fits into each patient’s overall health and lifestyle.

At the Vaccines on the Road clinics, health care professionals from MidMichigan Health and the Midland County Department of Public Health can talk to each person directly about any questions.“If someone has questions pertaining to a kind of their own health situation, the providers could help address those exactly and that's why there will be at least one physician at each one of these clinics,” says Dr. Watson. “It's really refreshing to recognize that when we speak about the science and the facts and the data that's out there and stay away from the politics and the rumors, patients ask us straight questions. They ask: did you get the vaccine; did your family get the vaccine; did your kids get the vaccine? We're always willing to answer those questions honestly, and it seems to help.”

Businesses interested in offering a vaccine clinic to their employees can contact Jim Reaume at jreaume@mbami.org or (989) 839-9522. Additional information is available at MBA’s website.

Read more articles by Marta Manning.

Marta Manning was born in Poland and relocated to Midland after living in various cities on the East Coast. A lifelong passion for writing and photography prompted Marta to shift her career trajectory from lab science to freelance journalism. She contributes regular articles on medical topics to WebMD.com and helps business clients write proposals for federal research funding. Her articles have appeared in the Chemical City Paper, Our Catholic Faith Midland, the NAMI.org national blog, and the Midland Daily News.
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