Pop-up vaccine clinic at senior community gets COVID-19 vaccination to 300 people

A pop-up vaccination clinic at a senior housing community in New Hope allowed 300 people to get a COVID-19 shot this week.

The clinic was a partnership between North Memorial Health, Hennepin County Public Health and Lang Nelson, which operates multiple housing facilities in the Twin Cities, including many for seniors.

Broadway Village Apartments, a senior housing community, hosted the pop-up clinic Monday.

"Not everybody has the opportunity to go to a vaccination clinic, so being able to bring the clinic here to them, people have been so thankful," said Tamara Richards with Lang Nelson Associates. "We’ve had a number of people calling saying, ‘Thank you. I couldn’t find vaccine and this has just been amazing.’"

Melvin Coleman, a 75-year-old who lives in the senior community, received a vaccine at the clinic.

"I see these people here and I said, you know something, you might as well get the vaccine. Why not?" Coleman said. "It seems like things keep getting worse with the virus. I don’t know where we’re headed, so I thought I’d get some protection."

Coleman is a Vietnam veteran who lives with a traumatic brain injury, following a car crash eight years ago. He said he does not have a car and had not initially planned on getting the vaccine.

"I’m not a ‘get a shot’ person but this might help save my life, you know what I mean?" Coleman said.

This is the third pop-up vaccine clinic hosted through the public-private partnership.

About half of the recipients Monday were senior housing residents. Coordinators also opened up the clinic to the community, so others who have struggled to access a COVID-19 vaccine could get a shot.

Coordinators said they wanted to help underserved populations that have experienced challenges, such as age, mobility or cultural barriers.

Nancy Gustafson of New Hope said she has been trying to get a vaccine for several weeks. Her husband has emphysema and they are both over 70 years old. They visited the clinic and were both able to get vaccinated.

"I think this was great because I didn’t have to keep checking the Vaccine Connector website," Gustafson said. "I think more people would get it if it was this easy.".

"We see this as being very valuable," added John Riley, community paramedic supervisor at North Memorial Health. "We know there are members of the community who have a hard time getting around, so we see this as a vital partnership. This is our passion. We want to see people safe and healthy."

A spokesperson with Hennepin County Public Health said pop-up vaccine clinics serve as a ‘safety net’ for those with limited access to the vaccine. They hope to host additional community vaccination sites in the coming weeks.