Fresno State students helping deliver vaccine equity for Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County is pushing for more equity in vaccine distribution and Fresno State students are helping.

Nursing students were the main attraction Tuesday at the Orange Cove Community Center, delivering 350 doses of the COVID vaccine in the rural community.

Their Mobile Health Program is spreading the vaccine across Fresno County.

"The county saw us out in the farm fields and said, 'Hey, can you get out 2,000 doses in the next two weeks?'" said program director Kathleen Rindahl, DNP, FNP-C.

The people getting these vaccinations might have skipped it without this visit.

"Because people don't have transportation or there aren't clinics out here," said Rindahl. "Or sometimes there's a fear factor: 'What's going to happen if I go to the clinic?' Or 'Can I afford that clinic?' And here, everything is for free and we come in their neighborhood on their terms."

Community-based organizations, including Cultiva la Salud, and the office of Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula, schedule appointments for farmworkers and people over the age of 65.

They do it over the phone or in person because Internet access isn't a guarantee in certain areas.

For nursing student Veronica Ayala, it's important to reach out into rural communities, like her home of Firebaugh.

"It does resonate when I see a small town," Ayala said. "I know there's not a lot of resources and maybe not a lot of ways to get to a big city and get the resources you need."

Ayala and other fifth semester students who are about to graduate gave the shots, preparing themselves for their future careers.

For some of them, it's eye-opening to practice public health nursing and see how different it is from the typical hospital setting.

"It helps us learn how to care for people better because it's not just patients in the hospitals, there are patients all over the community," said nursing student Bianca Medina, of Fresno.

The Mobile Health Program has two more of these events scheduled - Thursday in Calwa and Saturday in Cantua Creek. They're both by appointment only, so you have to go through community-based organizations to get your vaccination.
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