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Mount Sinai South Nassau and Town of Hempstead Launch Region’s First COVID-19 Vaccination Mobile Unit

Posted: Mar. 31, 2021
Mount Sinai South Nassau and Town of Hempstead Launch Region’s First COVID-19 Vaccination Mobile Unit

Mount Sinai South Nassau and the Town of Hempstead officially launched the region’s first COVID-19 Vaccination Mobile Unit with a visit to the Uniondale-Hempstead Senior Center, where hospital staff were scheduled to vaccinate 100 residents with the Johnson & Johnson, single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

Known as the “Vaxmobile,” the bus was funded with $695,042 from the $133 million federal CARES Act legislation to provide economic relief to Town of Hempstead businesses, organizations and residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary mission of the mobile vaccination unit is to reduce transportation, language, and technology barriers to vaccination and bring one-dose vaccines directly to hard-hit communities.

“Supervisor Clavin and the Town Board recognized last year the importance of having a mobile unit. They had the vision to approve purchase of this vehicle back when vaccines were still in very short supply,” said Richard J. Murphy, President and CEO of Mount Sinai South Nassau. “As a result of their foresight and action, we are now in a strong position to help the community. The Town has been a solid partner in our fight to stop the spread of the virus. We appreciate its leadership and willingness to fund and join us in this important public health effort.”

Town previously approved funding to provide drive-thru COVID-19 rapid testing at the hospital’s Oceanside campus.

“COVID-19 vaccines will help keep you and your family from getting seriously ill, even if you do get COVID-19, while reducing risk for others. We are proud to partner with the Town of Hempstead on this important service that allows us to bring the J&J vaccine directly to residents and communities within the Town of Hempstead that are at high risk of exposure to the virus and have been hard hit by the pandemic,” said Adhi Sharma, MD, Executive Vice President for Clinical and Professional Affairs and Chief Medical Officer. “Please, don’t wait. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.”

“This is truly a historic day in the Town of Hempstead, and we are proud to join our friends at Mount Sinai South Nassau to unveil the first COVID-19 mobile vaccination unit in New York State and just the second in the entire country,” stated Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin. “Our town provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal CARES funding toward the purchase of this ‘Vaxmobile,’ which will be deployed to different communities throughout America’s largest township with a focus on our most vulnerable population. The COVID-19 vaccine is imperative to helping us prevent the spread of this virus, keep our residents safe and return to a sense of normalcy in the Town of Hempstead.”

“Mount Sinai South Nassau has always been on the front lines of caring for the residents of America’s largest township, so it’s no surprise that they are here in partnership with America’s largest township to unveil the first mobile vaccination unit in all of New York State,” added Councilman Anthony D’Esposito. “It is truly an honor to stand alongside Supervisor Don Clavin, my Town Board colleagues and Mount Sinai South Nassau as we provide the first vaccines to our seniors and other local residents as we look forward to putting an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The 50-foot unit, a 2013 International Durastar 4400, was previously used as a mobile command center and was purchased by Mount Sinai South Nassau from Mission Mobile Medical, a North Carolina-based mobile medical company. The Vaxmobile arrived at the hospital’s campus on March 4. During the past two weeks, the hospital used the Vaxmobile to distribute more than 400 J&J vaccines to Town residents in a drive-thru setting on Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Oceanside campus and in Baldwin as part of a soft launch to test out the unit’s IT and other systems. In the coming weeks, the Vaxmobile will travel to various locations throughout the Town of Hempstead. The schedule will be dictated by vaccine supply and availability.

Mount Sinai South Nassau and the Town are communicating directly with community leaders to schedule visits to convenient and popular locations in the Town, including faith-based organizations, libraries, recreation centers, senior centers, parks, and train stations. Organizations or centers interested in scheduling a visit for eligible residents or for more information, may call the Town of Hempstead at (516) 812-3678 or send an email to VaxMobile@snch.org. Additional information about the mobile unit and its schedule will be posted on the Town and hospital websites.

All vaccines administered at the Vaxmobile are by appointment only and residents must meet the eligibility requirements as determined by the New York State Department of Health.

The handicapped-accessible mobile unit is staffed by a bi-lingual clinical team from Mount Sinai South Nassau, including a nurse practitioner, licensed practicing or registered nurses, registrars, and community health education professionals. The interior of the unit includes a private exam room, computerized clinical workstations, medical testing and lab technologies, and secure storage areas. Hospital staff are on hand if rare adverse reactions in a recipient occur following COVID-19 vaccination. The hospital has safely administered more than 10,000 vaccines at its site at 519 Merrick Road in Rockville Centre.

Once the threat from the pandemic has passed, Mount Sinai South Nassau and the Town plan to deploy the mobile unit to advance community health education and screening for other diseases.

“The mobile unit will allow us to extend our reach and bring services directly to the communities we serve,” said Mr. Murphy. “Many people who are working and raising families find it hard to find the time to get the health care they need while others have mobility and transportation problems. This unit will help us reach those people in need.”

For current information on the availability and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, visit www.southnassau.org/covid19vaccine.

About Mount Sinai South Nassau
The Long Island flagship hospital of the Mount Sinai Health System, Mount Sinai South Nassau is designated a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for outstanding nursing care. Mount Sinai South Nassau is one of the region’s largest hospitals, with 455 beds, more than 900 physicians and 3,500 employees. Located in Oceanside, NY, the hospital is an acute-care, not-for-profit teaching hospital that provides state-of-the-art care in cardiac, oncologic, orthopedic, bariatric, pain management, mental health and emergency services and operates the only Trauma Center on the South Shore of Nassau County, along with Long Island’s only free-standing Emergency Department in Long Beach.

In addition to its extensive outpatient specialty centers, Mount Sinai South Nassau provides emergency and elective angioplasty, and offers Novalis Tx™ and Gamma Knife® radiosurgery technologies. Mount Sinai South Nassau operates the only Trauma Center on the South Shore of Nassau County verified by the American College of Surgeons as well as Long Island’s only free-standing, 9-1-1 receiving Emergency Department in Long Beach. Mount Sinai South Nassau also is a designated Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health and Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons; is an accredited center of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Association and Quality Improvement Program; and an Infectious Diseases Society of America Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence.  For more information, go to www.mountsinai.org/southnassau.