SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic is looking for new ways to encourage patients to receive vaccinations. Military Treatment Facilities in Hawaii began administering the COVID-19 vaccine on December 16, 2020. As of May 17th, over 132,000 Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccinations have been administered.
In response to the large number of eligible beneficiaries wanting a vaccine during the initial roll-out, the DDHC team established a mass drive-thru vaccination event at Wheeler Army Air Field, capable of vaccinating over 1,200 people per day. As the number of fully vaccinated people increased and demand for the vaccine decreased, the clinic began looking for new ways to encourage vaccinations.
“Adaptability is key,” explains Lt. Col. Matthew Geiman, Deputy Commander for Administration at DDHC. “We’re no longer seeing the large waves of patients who want to be vaccinated, so it was crucial that we shift our efforts to meet the current demand. We realized that we needed to bring the vaccine to the patients instead of asking patients to come to the vaccine.”
The team began searching for a location to host a smaller-scale pop-up vaccine event. The location needed to be conveniently located, have a high amount of foot traffic, and have the necessary utilities already established. The Schofield Barracks Exchange was the perfect location.
“Many of our beneficiaries have commented that they were not willing to go out of their way to receive the vaccine, but our walk-in friendly pop-up clinic at the Schofield Barracks Exchange made it easy for them to stop by and get vaccinated,” notes Jason Martin, Population Health Nurse for DDHC. “We’re able to vaccinate approximately 100 people during each event.”
In addition to hosting pop-up events at the Schofield Barracks Exchange, DDHC is also partnering with local military units to offer vaccinations as a part of Town Hall events.
“Many commanders are using Town Halls as a way to talk to soldiers and their family members who may be on the fence about receiving the vaccine,” explains Geiman. “By having DDHC personnel on-site to offer vaccines after the Town Hall, we’re able to eliminate wait times and make it very convenient for those soldiers and family members who have decided to receive the vaccine.”
DDHC is also offering weekend vaccination events for those who are unable to receive a vaccine during the week due to work, school, or other commitments. Vaccines are available for TRICARE beneficiaries ages 12 and older. For more information or to make an appointment, please visit www.operationcovidshot.com.