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Vaccine Tracker: HealthLinc helps high-risk and homeless get vaccinated

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 6:36 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -On this edition of the Vaccine Tracker we’re looking at a local vaccine provider working to reach underserved and high-risk populations in Michiana.

First, here are the latest percentages for residents in each Michiana county fully-vaccinated from COVID-19:

Fully Vaccinated Michiana 4-15
Fully Vaccinated Michiana 4-15(WNDU)

HealthLinc has been helping contribute to these percentages with locations in St. Joseph County in Indiana and LaPorte County. They were the first pop-up up clinic in the state back in March.

“This was part of the White House’s initiative to get people of color to be able to get the vaccine, and those underserved or homeless or migrant workers, and getting one vaccine we may not see them back,” Beth Wrobel, CEO at HealthLinc, says.

They try to engage those underserved and high-risk populations by getting them in for vaccinations and they had been using the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. HealthLinc says using the single shot dose makes vaccinating their target population easier as the people they serve may not make it back for a second dose if they used the Pfizer or Moderna.

When the federal government halted the use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine this week, they had to make some last second pivots.

“Literally, by 6:32 I was getting calls from our call center, patients wondering ‘I was supposed to get the J and J today what are you going to do?’ So we just moved everyone that wanted to, we notified them, and we moved them to Moderna,” Wrobel says.

They have 8,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson in storage, waiting for the official word from the FDA and CDC if they can continue the shot or not. They are still getting Moderna shots in arms.

“People say ‘what’s the best vaccine?’ Well, it’s the one in your arm, is always the best vaccine,” Wrobel adds.

So far HealthLinc has given 35,000 doses in total with 14,000 in St. Joseph County. Out of those doses 2,500 were the single dose J&J. They’re both a federal and state partner so they get vaccine doses from both entities.

With the halt on J&J, they’re urging people to continue to get vaccinated and have faith in the process.

“I hope people continue to have trust in the process and that vaccine, that’s what is going to get us out of COVID is to get vaccinated. Your chances of dying because of COVID is a lot higher than even if we continue to do the J and J”.

To sign up for a vaccine at a HealthLinc site just head to this website: https://healthlincchc.org/ there is also a phone number listed on that site to call for help signing up.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on the vaccination rollout, and I want to hear from you. Email me at zach.horner@wndu.com or find me on Facebook and send a message if you have an issue or idea of something we can dig into on the Vaccine Tracker.

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