"Expanding Community-Based Immunization To Meet Today’s Vaccine Challenges"
Article written by Purva Rawal, Jennifer Rak, Elizabeth Docteur, and Lu Zawistowich for Health Affairs
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations have fallen across all age groups by 49% from late March through mid-April. Fears around the pandemic have disrupted typical preventative health care patterns including reduced access to physicians offices and community health centers. This article outlines three different community-based solutions for policy-makers to consider: mobile health clinics (MCHs), drive-thru testing and immunization sites, and school-based health centers (SBHCs). MHCs can flexibly deliver care to underserved communities based on their needs, and 60% of those served by MCHs are uninsured. Drive thru testing and immuniziations sites are especially important during the paandemic, although they are less commone and require coordination to be successful. In particular, the widespread use of COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites could provide an infrastructure for eventual vaccination. Finally, SBHCs are another important site that are often located in schools with predominately underserved and uninsured communities. A large majority of SBHCs offer immunizations as well and as stated in the article,"given the role they play in delivering care—and their potential to address lagging immunization rates and support a universal vaccination campaign—additional funding could help them remain open and expand capacity to meet current immunization challenges."