As COVID-19 vaccines became available earlier this year, Karyn Beauchamp started working on a way to get them to the employees of Irving Independent School District.
Beauchamp, the district’s clinic and health services director, already partners with the Caring Foundation of TexasSM to provide students with vaccines they need for enrollment. Why not work together to offer COVID-19 protection to teachers and staff who want the shots?
Her plan came together when the foundation received vaccine doses to support the state’s COVID-19 immunization campaign and offered to help vaccinate district employees.
Beauchamp quickly scheduled a clinic at the district headquarters, and about 230 people made appointments for shots. “We were able to get this done in very short order,” she says. “It worked beautifully.”
The Irving clinic was among a few Dallas-area efforts held in partnership with the foundation, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, and Sanitas Medical Centers, the foundation’s Dallas medical provider. Other clinics were held at South Oak Cliff High School in South Dallas, the Texans Can Academies and outside Sanitas clinics.
“With these partnerships, you can get a lot of things done for people,” Beauchamp says. School-based clinics are especially helpful for employees who don’t have access to transportation or can’t take time off from work, she says. “A lot of our staff live in the school district, and you want them to feel like they’re being provided for.”
For more than two decades, the foundation and its Care Van® program have supported communities statewide by helping administer more than 1.3 million CDC-recommended vaccinations, as well as dental screenings and health education and testing services. Helping offer COVID-19 vaccinations has become part of that outreach.
The foundation helped inoculate about 50 employees of the Texans Can Academies’ eight Dallas-Fort Worth campuses, says Chief Human Resources Officer Norma Allen.
“We had some employees who were still trying to get vaccination appointments,” she says. “It was awesome to provide this benefit to our employees.”
All Texans age 16 and older are now eligible, and about 39% were fully vaccinated as of May 11.
“There are hopeful signs that we are making significant strides in combating the pandemic, which challenged us all to step up our missions in this crisis,” says Sheena Payne, the foundation’s executive director. “This is particularly critical when it comes to providing equitable access to vaccinations. That’s why we are proud to collaborate with community organizations to provide vaccinations in vulnerable communities in Texas.”