Maj. Michael Billings, Kansas Training Center battalion executive officer and Hayley Samford, marketing and community outreach associate with the Salina Family Healthcare Center, pose with a sign advertising the COVID-19 vaccine clinic held at the Kansas National Guard Training Center April 15. The clinic, aimed at making the vaccine more accessible to residents and employees on the west side of town, teamed up with the Kansas Guard because of the ideal location of their facilities.
Maj. Michael Billings, Kansas Training Center battalion executive officer and Hayley Samford, marketing and community outreach associate with the Salina Family Healthcare Center, pose with a sign advertising the COVID-19 vaccine clinic held at the Kansas National Guard Training Center April 15. The clinic, aimed at making the vaccine more accessible to residents and employees on the west side of town, teamed up with the Kansas Guard because of the ideal location of their facilities. (Photo Credit: Maj. Margaret Ziffer) VIEW ORIGINAL

SALINA, Kan. – The auditorium at the Kansas Army National Guard’s regional training institute in Salina buzzed with activity April 15 as the Salina Family Healthcare Center’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic prepared to open its doors.

“The organization reached out to us to see if the Kansas Army National Guard would have facilities to support a Salina community COVID-19 vaccination clinic, and we did,” said Maj. Michael Billings, Kansas Training Center battalion executive officer. “We still have Kansas Army National Guard training here, but we were able to de-conflict and work everything out for them to use our auditorium and hopefully get some more people access to the COVID vaccine.”

“We have 500 doses of Moderna,” said Hayley Samford, marketing and community outreach associate with the Salina Family Healthcare Center. “So it would be wonderful if we could go through all that today.”

Samford said that most of their vaccine clinics up until this point have been hosted on the east side of town, which has been problematic for those who may lack transportation, time off work to get across town or available childcare options. So when they decided to do an outreach clinic in the hopes of making the vaccine more accessible to residents and employees on the west side, location was everything. The Kansas Army National Guard training facility, it turned out, was perfectly situated to host a clinic that could address many of those issues.

“For this clinic, we were thinking especially about Schwann’s, since they are the largest employer in Salina,” Samford said. “We wanted to make it as convenient as possible to vaccinate their workforce - those who would like a vaccine – so, by stationing ourselves right here, then we are as close as possible to their workforce and we’ll go through two of their shift changes while we’re here.”

To help simplify the process even more, Samford said they decided not to require appointments. Additionally, advertisements and vaccine literature was put into different languages in order to ensure more people were receiving the information.

“We want to make sure that everyone can understand the messaging and what resources are available in order to make a decision and complete the paperwork in a language they feel comfortable with,” said Samford.

“I think they’ve done a great job in communicating with the community, getting the information out,” Billings said, adding that the KSARNG was happy to have been able to contribute to the efforts to help keep the Salina community safe and open. “This is an industrial part of town,” Billings said. “So these are the individuals are working hard and keeping the economy going.”