At most rest stops, long-haul truckers can get a drink, a bathroom break and a chance to stretch their legs. On U.S. 23, they’ll soon be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The first-ever rest stop vaccine clinic will open July 13 in Pike County, which sports one of the lowest vaccination rates in Ohio at 34%.
Its overnight hours — 6 p.m. to 2 p.m. — are meant to accommodate truckers, explained Pike County Health Department coordinator Bruce Colburn.
Truck drivers are usually busy, and they’ve been busier since COVID-19 restrictions began to lift across the country. Companies that laid off drivers during the pandemic are asking more of the ones that remain — more time on the road, more time away from family, more time that can’t be used to schedule or attend a vaccine appointment.
But Colburn said the clinic is open to anyone who stops by.
“As long as we get one or two people vaccinated, because that's someone who we got who may have not gotten vaccinated because they couldn't get to it or they hadn't thought of it before…I consider that a success,” he said.
Although the clinic is 10 days away, Colburn’s department has already gotten kudos from Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio’s Department of Health, who call the clinic innovative — and think other health departments should consider copying it.