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UnityPoint deploys “VAX Van” making COVID-19 vaccines more accessible to the Cedar Valley

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WATERLOO-CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) - UnityPoint Health is hosting pop-up clinics using a mobile "VAX Van." Nurses are making their way into neighborhoods to give the vaccine, making the shots even more accessible.

Demand for the shot against COVID has gone down and UnityPoint Health is trying to change that. Each day the mobile VAX Van sets up the clinic, more Iowans roll up their sleeves.

"They're very thankful that it's coming to them instead of them having to figure out how to get themselves to the vaccine," UnityPoint Population Health Program Director Milda Mullesch said.

The VAX Van hit the road at the beginning of May in an attempt to get more vaccines in the arms of those who have yet to get one.

Transportation is something not many have access to. They may not be able to make it to a pharmacy or clinic to get their COVID-19 vaccine. Nurses administering the vaccine have heard other reasons as well.

"They may not understand the need for the vaccine, or may not have enough education to be able to receive the vaccine and be comfortable with it, so we're providing both education and the vaccines through the mobile VAX," Mullesch said.

No appointment, photo ID, or insurance is needed for the clinic on wheels. Simply walk up, sign a consent form with your name and date of birth, and roll up your sleeve.

The VAX Van has made stops at local businesses and parks in order to reach as many people as possible.

"Some Friday Loo, some Riverloop, some farmers markets, Sturgis Falls, my Waterloo Days, Juneteenth," she said.

UnityPoint plans to hit as many community events as they can to protect more against the virus.

Local providers have come together with a goal to vaccinate 70% of Black Hawk County by the Fourth of July.

"More than 10,000 people need to be vaccinated in Black Hawk County to reach that goal," Mullesch said, "So we need to vaccinate every day, every week."

The Pfizer and one-dose J & J vaccines are offered at the VAX Van pop-up clinics. The van will return to the same locations after three weeks to give out the second dose of the Pfizer shot.

The van can go directly to peoples' homes as well. The number to call to set up a home visit is 319-226-2600.

Other pop-up VAX Van vaccination clinic dates and times can be found on the UnityPoint Health Facebook Page or website.

Walk-in vaccines are also available at the UnitPoint Express clinic at North Crossing every day 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. located at 2134 Logan Ave.

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Diego Hernandez

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