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Southern Minn. organizations doing their part to help get residents vaccinated

Published: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:43 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — While the supply of COVID-19 vaccines remains high, some groups of people still are having trouble accessing the vaccine because of possible physical limitations.

Local groups, like VINE Faith in Action and the SMILES Center for Independent Living, are doing what they can to inform the public about the vaccine, as well as steps to get it.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many at-risk and elderly individuals to be isolated for an extended period of time, but for some, the isolation started well before the pandemic. SMILES is starting to find ways to get the vaccines to those who cannot physically leave their homes.

“We are not aware of homebound people, a lot of them, so if they call us we can help facilitate a vaccine to come to their home through MDH, working with local pharmacies that are willing to do that,” SMILES Executive Director Bonnie Danberry said.

Both organizations know that for some it isn’t a matter of refusing to take the vaccine, just more about access to information and to transportation to the clinics.

Providing free transportation is just one way that VINE is doing its part in the fight against COVID-19.

“We serve those rural areas, we literally go out to people’s farmhouses to pick them up. We have been bringing those people that might not otherwise have a form of transportation to get in to get their vaccine,” VINE Marketing and Communications Manager Paige Schuette said.

Groups like SMILES and VINE understand the impact they can make in the lives of those they serve. They say they are happy to be a part of these people’s lives and serving the community.

“VINE’s volunteer driving program has been around since the beginning, and we have heard from several people in the past that if they didn’t have a ride to get to the doctor, to get to the grocery store, to get where they needed to go [that] they would be living in an assisted living facility,” Shuette said.

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