Bringing health care to the community
Vaccine outreach team provides vaccines, education to Omaha community
In the early fall of 2023, the OneWorld Vaccine Outreach team got a phone call from an individual interested in the flu vaccine, but lived 45 minutes outside of Omaha. After learning that the individual’s spouse suffers from multiple chronic diseases and is essentially bedbound, the team jumped into action to help.
“We scheduled an appointment for their flu vaccines, and drove out to their home within a week of their phone call,” said Community Health Worker, Jessica Garcia Lara. “The wife, who called, was so grateful for our efforts because it is really hard for her to get her husband out of the house for these simple clinic appointments. We were able to get them their flu vaccines and establish a relationship so they know our services are only a phone call away.”
Throughout 2023, the OneWorld Vaccine Outreach team provided services to around 1,500 individuals. Last fall, the team was busy providing flu vaccines and the new Covid-19 booster.
To help expand their capabilities to provide vaccines, the team added Elizabeth Silva, LPN, Outreach Nurse, who transitioned from her position as a nurse on the OneWorld Pediatrics team.
With the new Covid-19 booster, Silva said the team has emphasized education about this particular vaccine, to clarify misconceptions and misinformation.
“Many people did not realize that this is a new vaccine, so we made sure to explain that this is a new vaccine and why it is important for them to get this booster,” said Silva.
As they went to different locations in the Omaha area, Garcia Lara said the cost of the vaccine was a common concern.
Fortunately, the team was able to clarify that OneWorld has funding through the CDC’s Bridge Access Program, so individuals without insurance can get the booster at no cost. The team also completed training to asses for medical insurance and Covid-19 vaccine coverage for individuals with health insurance.
“With all of our training and medical knowledge, we can take these critical services out into the community,” said Garcia Lara. “We can be the front desk, billing team and clinical services for those individuals who cannot come to the clinic because of barriers such as transportation and physical disabilities.”
The team plans to continue to provide vaccines and education classes to reach as many individuals in the community as possible.
Garcia Lara said one of her favorite parts of her job is seeing that individuals are asking questions about other age-appropriate vaccines and screenings that they may need.
“When we started going out into the community to provide vaccines, we were hardly asked about other services,” said Garcia Lara. “But now, individuals remember the information we give them and trust us to help connect them to those services as well. It’s a wonderful thing to see our community invest in their health.”