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Buses bring vaccines to rural northern Michigan

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Two medical buses will soon begin traveling to rural areas in northern Michigan to deliver Covid-19 vaccines.

Inside them, special coolers will hold about 1,000 doses that will be put in the arms of residents of Benzie, Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties.

Northwest Michigan Health Services, a federally qualified health center, is running the vaccine distribution.

They received doses as part of a state program which sets aside 30,000 doses for rural residents—targeting those who have health conditions and are older.

Lindsey Schnell, a community health worker for Northwest Michigan Health Services, says they are a resource for those living in outlying areas who may have more barriers to getting the vaccine—including poor cell or internet service.

“We recognize and listen to our patients when they tell us driving all the way out to the clinic or fitting time in their schedule is challenging or making that phone call is challenging,” Schnell says.

The new buses may be used later to bring medical care on-site for migrant farm workers, and in partnerships with area agencies on aging.

Right now Schnell says they are focused on vaccinating those 50 years and older and those with chronic health conditions or disabilities.

Their next clinics are: 

• March 16: Hart, Oceana County, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Oceana Council on Aging, 4250 W. Tyler Rd.

• March 18: Benzie County, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Blaine Christian Church, 7018 Putney Rd, Arcadia.

• March 24: Shelby, Oceana County 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Shelby Optimist, 788 Industrial Park Dr.

Reservations can be made by calling (231) 642-5292 or booking online.