COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A partnership between Columbus Public Health (CPH) and first responders is targeting neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates and aiming to make the COVID-19 shot more accessible.
Fire Station 10 on West Broad Street in the Franklinton neighborhood opened its garage doors Tuesday morning for a drive-thru vaccine clinic. Workers with CPH and Division of Fire paramedics were offering the primary COVID-19 vaccine series, booster shots and flu shots.
“We don’t want transportation or lack of transportation or ‘it’s not close to me’ to be an excuse why you’re not getting it. So whatever we can do to help you get it if you want it, then we’re willing to do that,” said Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin.
The fire department began working with CPH in fall of 2020, administering flu shots alongside COVID-19 drive-thru testing at the Celeste Center at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. When the vaccine became available, the facility became a mass vaccination site.
Martin said, “We were able to help them get a tremendous amount of people vaccinated in what we would consider a very short amount of time for a normal vaccine type of distribution.”
The Franklinton fire station is one of two locations adapting the drive-thru model used at the fairgrounds for a smaller scale. It will offer vaccinations on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Fire Station 18 on Cleveland Ave. in Linden will host a drive-thru clinic on Thursdays during the same time frame.
CPH and Columbus Fire selected the stations because of their location in neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates, as well as their proximity to main roads and public transportation.
“These places are both on bus routes. So even if you can’t make it in a car, you can walk in, walk through and get back on a bus,” Martin said.
Larry McIntyre was using his day off Tuesday to get his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I have my grandkids that are living with me. I needed to get the second vaccination to make sure they’re safe, as well as myself and my fiance,” McIntyre explained.
He said he stopped by the drive-thru clinic because it was convenient.
“It makes it easy, I can just drive through and just continue on with my day,” he said.
The drive-thru clinic debuts as Central Ohio continues to see high case numbers and hospitalizations. Throughout the pandemic, fire paramedics have routinely encountered patients with COVID-19. Now the frontline workers are also seeing more people sick with flu and other illnesses.
“We have over 160,000 runs a year. Over 90 percent of them are EMS. This is preventative,” explained Martin. “Why not take the time to try to make Columbus healthier so we don’t have all those runs on the back end… because no one wants to be sick and we don’t want to run on you when you’re sick.”
Both drive-thru clinics will not be offering Vax Cash incentives. They do not require appointments.
Here are other locations where you can receive a COVID-19 vaccination:
Columbus Public Health (240 Parsons Ave.):
- Walk-ins available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fire Station Drive-Thru Clinics:
- Tuesday – Columbus Fire Station 10 (1096 W. Broad St.) – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Thursday – Columbus Fire Station 18 (1630 Cleveland Ave.) – 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Community Rec Center Clinics:
- Monday – Linden Rec Center (1350 Briarwood Ave.) – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Wednesday – Barack Rec Center (580 E Woodrow Ave.) – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Friday – Westgate Rec Center (455 S Westgate Ave.) – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Find more information about CPH clinics by clicking on this link.