Genesee County, MI—Those who can’t drive or who don’t have transportation can now get a free ride to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment if scheduled through the Genesee County Health Department.
To offer the complimentary service, the GCHD partnered with the Flint Mass Transportation Authority.
“MTA is very involved with a lot of the health organizations in town already because of the work we do with Rides to Wellness,” Chief Operating Officer of MTA Flint Harmony Lloyd said.
The program was also supported by grants from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and the Ruth Mott Foundation totaling $30,000.
Patients cannot reserve their own rides, Lloyd said. Instead, when the Health Department calls to schedule a vaccine appointment, they will ask the individual if they need transportation. GCHD will take care of the booking from there.
Reservations are handled through a new scheduling system created specifically for the GCHD.
“It was just a matter of setting them up with their own scheduling portal, where they can they actually log on and then they are in our system, or have access to our system, where they can schedule transportation at the same time that they schedule somebody’s appointment,” Lloyd said.
MTA’s Rides to Wellness, which is a door-to-door service, will pick up and drop off patients at their homes.
“If people haven’t used public transportation before, we hope they don’t feel intimidated or nervous about it. It’s a really easy process. And it’s really safe for them to be in the vehicle,” Lloyd said, adding there is a physical barrier between the driver and passenger to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While Health Department employees have been instructed to ask patients if they need transportation, Lloyd said it doesn’t hurt to speak up in case.
“We just don’t want somebody to miss the opportunity because they didn’t know to ask,” she said.
Though the program is currently limited to vaccine appointments at GCHD Lloyd said MTA is working on other partnerships.
To schedule an appointment with the GCHD, click here.
A list of other vaccination sites in Flint and Genesee County can be found here.