LUBBOCK Texas- The City of Lubbock health department and Citibus were recently recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for their on-wheels campaign to get people vaccinated.
“Really, [the goal is] to meet people where they are, to be out in the community talking to people about the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Katherine Wells, Director of Public Health for the City of Lubbock, “and giving people multiple opportunities to get people vaccinated.
Wells said there are still a lot of individuals who have not gotten vaccinated. According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, less than 50 percent of the community in Lubbock County are vaccinated.
Chris Mandrell, General Manager at Citibus, said their buses have functional use besides riding. For example, he said their buses have inverters, which allow the Health Department to plug in coolers to keep the vaccines cool and safe.
Mandrell said they’ve already attended various events.
“We’ve been to First Friday Art Trail, we’ve been to churches and schools and just different places,” he said. “Wherever there may be people where there typically won’t be outreach to get the COVID vaccine.”
Wells said the buses are adorned with messaging to get vaccinated in English and Spanish and also highlight well-known community members to help encourage people to get vaccinated.
Martín Piña, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the many faces on the bus.
“They approached me to see if I would like to participate in a campaign to get minorities in our communities to get vaccinated,” said Piña, “Most [people] usually tell me, ‘I haven’t gone because I put it to the side. I haven’t really taken the time to find out where they are at, [but] it’s not an opposition to it.'”
Piña said although people say there’s only a small portion of the population that dies from COVID-19, he’s known people who have died from the virus and encourages others to do the same.
“The vaccine will allow you to have a great chance of surviving the disease,” said Piña, I think people have to remember the vaccine is important so you don’t wind up in the hospital in case you get it.”