Marin County, the smallest of the San Francisco Bay Area counties, is located immediately north of San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge. The county is diverse in its geography and population – Central Marin, located off Highway 101, is densely populated and home to resource-rich neighborhoods while West Marin is a rural, agricultural hub. Curative’s mobile health-equity model can uniquely help counties distribute vaccines efficiently and effectively.
Check-in for the Marin Health Equity Van, where Curative employees direct patients.
West Marin was hit hard by COVID-19 as many of the region’s residents are essential agricultural workers. When the county first approached us with the prospect of conducting vaccine operations, the initial goal was to go to West Marin one day per week in various high-trafficked areas. This would help reduce the need for agricultural workers, who already work long days and might not have access to private transportation, to travel to the county’s main vaccine pods in Central Marin. By setting up vaccine clinics in rural community hubs, Curative has helped make vaccines more accessible to the populations that are most impacted by the pandemic.
“The Curative mobile unit has been an important tool for equity in our vaccine plan. We know not everyone can get to our mass vaccination sites. There’s no better way to vaccinate hard to reach groups than to bring the vaccine to them.” – Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer
The Marin County Public Health Department used their local knowledge and expertise to program the van. The county worked with local health groups and community organizations to ensure that all Marin County residents had equitable access to the vaccine. Curative is proud to act as the county’s tool for achieving their health equity goals. The van partnered with the Marin City Health and Wellness Center, Coastal Health Alliance at Pt. Reyes, Canal Alliance in San Rafael, and the Marin Community Clinic in Novato. Empowering host organizations to reach out to their communities helped make our outreach targeted and grassroots. Local outreach was key in helping vaccine hesitant populations feel comfortable getting their shot as they have a level of trust and connection with community members that neither government officials or a third-party organization could replicate.
Curative employees, most of whom live in Marin County, prepare to offer vaccines at a community-based organization in West Marin.
The disparity in resources between East and West Marin extends both physically and digitally. Many West Marin residents do not have reliable Internet access, so booking appointments online proved a challenge. To assist, Curative partnered with local health clinics to text and email their patients with appointment registration instructions while communicating that walk-ups would be accepted. When we first started our vaccine van, we allocated 150 doses per day through appointments, with 50 doses reserved for walkups. This ensured that there were options regardless of access to digital resources.
“What’s unique about the van is our flexibility with set up. We can vaccinate at a corner parking lot or inside a church – there isn’t one correct way that a vaccine clinic is supposed to look like. The best clinics are those that meet the unique needs of the host community. The Curative mobile van is designed as a tool for counties to connect with their harder-to-reach populations in a way that brings trust, community, and equity to vaccine distribution.” – Shoshana Gould, Regional Partnerships Manager in Northern California
To work toward greater equity, we also set up sites at specific high-risk locations. We were able to vaccinate willing members at a Homeward Bound, a homeless shelter in Marin County. Housing insecurity has been heightened during the pandemic, especially in communities of color, which exacerbates other adverse health effects, including food insecurity, lack of hygienic resources, and challenges to mental health. These factors make those experiencing housing insecurity more vulnerable to COVID-19, amplifying the need for equitable allocation of resources.
Curative staff ensure safety and comfort throughout the vaccine process.
We operate our mobile health equity van Tuesday through Saturday, which gives those who work Monday through Friday an option to get vaccinated on the weekend. We’ve built strong partnerships that have helped the county meet its goal: to bring resources to harder-hit areas within the community. Curative is immensely proud to have helped Marin achieve a unique achievement: out of all counties in the United States with a population greater than 100,000, Marin County ranks fourth in the highest number of residents vaccinated. Our van served as an accompaniment to Marin County’s largest vaccination pod and, moving forward, we will utilize our strong connections to build vaccine confidence as we ensure everyone who is eligible and willing to receive the vaccine has comfortable and accessible options. The Marin van has served as the model for our other health equity vans, including neighboring Alameda County. We are adopting this model across the United States to bring resources to the communities who need them most.
Curative Inc. and its subsidiary, Curative Management Services LLC, engage with medical entities that provide vaccination services.