What programs are in the works?
Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) is working hard to connect resources and get vaccines in the arms of homebound individuals and folks in independent senior living.
If you or somebody you know falls into this category, be aware that you’re not alone. The Health District and area providers want to get our most vulnerable vaccinated against COVID-19, especially those with barriers to access. We are partnering with a number of community groups to find solutions for this important issue.
BFHD has been working with local home health agencies, in-home service providers, and bi-county emergency medical services to identify people who are homebound and need vaccine. These agencies are working to contact homebound individuals and arrange vaccination at home.
Independent Senior Living
One of our pharmacy partners is working with senior housing and independent living facilities. They’re identifying people who– while not hospitalized– are facing barriers to getting into the community for the vaccine. Facilities are identifying these individuals and putting them in contact with a local pharmacy to schedule their vaccination.
Transportation to Vaccine
If transportation is the issue, BFHD is also working to get you to the vaccines. We’ve teamed with Ben-Franklin Transit (BFT) to shuttle eligible people to vaccine distributors.
For a limited time, these rides are free: they don’t require a subscription, just 24-hours’ notice. Once you have reserved an appointment with a vaccine provider, call the service at (509) 735-0160 to schedule your pickup. For more details visit their website (link: www.bft.org/VaccineTransportation). But please note: The service is only authorized to take you to and from your vaccination site. Most area vaccine providers are accessible for the service, but not the mass-vaccination site at Benton County Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds aren’t accessible to public transit because of numerous safety hazards for walk-up appointments (plus, a required wait-in-vehicle time post vaccination). There are also restrictions in place keeping vaccinators out of some vehicles (like a Dial-A-Ride or vanpool).
BFT’s transportation experts tell us they’ll keep working to make the most of public transportation access to vaccination sites. We’ll update this story and social media as additional resources and information become available.
So, you might be asking: How do those facing barriers get access get their shot?
Right now, folks with no other way to get to these life-saving vaccines need to contact their in-home services agency*. By now, if the agency hasn’t already contacted you, you may have been missed. These agencies are already aware of the process. They will work with other agencies providing mobile vaccine and get you set up for vaccination.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit our website: COVID-19 Vaccine Information – Benton Franklin Health District (wa.gov)
* Please do NOT contact the Health District or any of our local pharmacies to request the vaccine be brought directly to your home.