SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – While it’s not difficult to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, for certain people, getting there proves to be more challenging.
Ken and Sharon Brannon are leaving their house to go to their scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
“Me and my wife have really talked about this over and over again, and we were really positive about getting these shots,” Ken Brannon said.
While scheduling the shot was easy, getting there is proving to be challenging as Sharon can’t walk on her own.
“I would have trouble getting on public transportation. That would… I would have to rely on someone to take me,” Sharon Brannon said.
“There’s a lot of people who are poor or who live in poverty – somewhere in that aspect. You know, like myself, who don’t have a vehicle,” Brannon said.
To get there on time, they requested the help of a Lyft driver, but they didn’t call them to set it up. Instead, they reached out to the 211 Helpline Center.
“We at the Helpline Center – we want to make sure that people who want a vaccine are able to get there regardless of transportation barriers,” Vice President of Program Development for the Helpline Center Betsy Schuster said.
They are able to provide this through a partnership with the South Dakota Department of Health. If you’re eligible for the vaccine, all you have to do is set up an appointment, then call the center to coordinate a ride. They can schedule them as early as seven days in advance.
“The driver knows, within their app, where to take them, and then we schedule them a ride to return back home, and all the payment is behind the scenes; they don’t have to worry about it at all” Schuster said.
“That’s a Godsend for those of us, as he said, don’t have vehicles and that need a way to get to the doctor… to do necessary appointments, or tests, or whatever it may be,” Sharon said.
Sharon says that having this option for transport, and her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, makes her feel more secure about the road ahead.
“I will be getting the other one in about three weeks then we will be protected and we won’t run the risk of infecting our families or getting infected by somebody who is running around with COVID,” Sharon said.
To request a ride, all you have to do is dial 2-1-1. If you are eligible and want to sign up for the vaccine, just visit the South Dakota Department of Health website to find a local provider near you.