American Ambulance POD Program Assists Vaccination Efforts
Last updated 7/9/2021 at 9:21pm | View PDF
With the world opening up again and California's mask mandate having been lifted, many local seniors who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine may be wondering how they can get vaccinated.
One solution, especially for those who are homebound, may be American Ambulance of Visalia, which has partnered with the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency to establish a vaccination POD (point of distribution) program to increase vaccine accessibility in the South Valley.
Currently, American Ambulance vaccination PODs, which are fixed locations where anyone 12 years of age and older can get vaccinated, are regular fixtures at several standing and rotating events throughout the area, including the Visalia Farmers Markets and several Visalia Rawhide home games.
(Those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at Rawhide games from 3-6 p.m. in the Terrace Lounge of Valley Strong Ballpark on July 3 or 24, August 21 or September 11 will receive a complimentary ticket to that day's game.)
In many cases, however, the ability to get to a vaccination location has been a prohibiting factor for people with mobility issues or who are shut-in, as both groups have limited ability to leave their home. In instances like this, American Ambulance offers homebound appointments, delivering and administering the vaccine to those who cannot visit a POD or other vaccination center.
"There are so many folks who are elderly or injured or otherwise can't get to a vaccination site," said Jeff Ruch, operations supervisor at American Ambulance of Visalia. "It's been game-changing to have the resources and other capacities to go directly to these peoples' homes and get them vaccinated."
Homebound appointments and requests for scheduling a vaccination POD at a company event, assisted living facility or other singular event must be booked through the myturn.ca.gov website, which connects people with their respective county health and human services agency.
All COVID-19 vaccinations are free to the public, including those administered at an American Ambulance vaccination PODs. Vaccination appointments take approximately 15 minutes for patients without a pre-existing medical condition, and approximately 30 minutes for patients with one or more pre-existing medical conditions.
"American Ambulance has performed homebound vaccinations in Visalia, Goshen, Dinuba, Tulare and Cutler-Orosi areas," said Paul Main, president of American Ambulance, who estimated that as of mid-June, the program had vaccinated about 50 homebound seniors.
"American Ambulance plans on offering these services in conjunction with Tulare County for as long as they request our assistance," Main added. "We are glad to help our communities stay safe any way we can."