Earlier this week, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment unveiled its first mobile services van.
“The mobile services van allows JCDHE to go out to areas of the community to provide immunizations, STD testing and treatment and health education on topics like healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco prevention,” Jennifer Dunlay, JCDHE’s risk communicator, said.
She said the van helps fulfill some general public health goals, including “informing, educating and empowering people about health issues” because it enables the department to "be out in the community.”
Dunlay said the health department has always viewed mobile services as part of the “strategic plan to help identify and solve community health problems.” However, it wasn’t until COVID-19 came that the vision was realized thanks to some federal relief funding.
The van cost about $174,900 in all. Operation costs will vary based on how it’s used and how frequently it's used, but Dunlay said its operating costs will be covered by grant money for the next few years.
This month, the van will be deployed to areas of Johnson County with low vaccine uptake. In addition to providing the vaccine, Dunlay says the “staff will provide education and information about COVID-19 and the vaccine in both English and Spanish.”
Not only does the van have the necessary cold storage for vaccine doses, but it also has extra space for people to receive the vaccine, the mandatory post-vaccination waiting time and to fill out the necessary consent paperwork.