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Nolanville residents working together to schedule, transport neighbors to COVID vaccine appointments

Posted at 9:10 PM, Mar 22, 2021

It's no secret vaccine distribution is a huge undertaking, especially for big cities.

It's no different for the smaller and rural ones.

Those towns actually can face more challenges when it comes to transportation and internet access, which can make it a challenge to schedule vaccine appointments.

With this in mind, local leaders in the City of Nolanville worked together to make sure everyone who wanted a vaccine could get one without leaving the city.

When Irene Andrews and Joan Hinshaw aren't tending to their garden, the couple is constantly on the phone setting up vaccine appointments for their neighbors.

“When we figured out that we could perhaps get Bell County to work with us to bring the vaccine to Nolanville, we were absolutely thrilled," Andrews said.

After navigating through what Andrews says was a hassle to get their vaccine appointments scheduled, the two figured others who aren't as tech-savvy undoubtedly had issues.

“That's what got us pushing for this vaccination to come to our own community so that people wouldn't be left out and fall through the cracks," said Hinshaw who is also on the Nolanville City Council.

Having vaccine access a little closer to home means they had more control about getting the word out and clearing up any issues or questions surrounding registration and appointments.

“We could talk to people we could knock on doors we could answer the phone right away," added Andrews.

Hinshaw has been working alongside her colleagues to get the vaccine to the city.

She says many of Nolanville’s residents are elderly and have challenges with transportation so that’s another hurdle they had to overcome.

In early November 2020, the city also added the ENDEAVRide, a “Taxi + Telemedicine 2-in-1” service, and delivered on a self-driving van.

ENDEAVRide, a partnership with A&M Central TX, has been assisting with getting folks to their appointments.

“We were able to get on the phone and make an appointment with them," Hinshaw said. "If they didn't have a vehicle, we scheduled a ride for them to their appointment. So, yeah, we, we took care of it.”

The vaccine site being right in their backyard is something locals like Kerry Fillip appreciate.

“The fact that my small community stepped up and said we want to be a vaccination site so our residents can stay close to home and get what they need. Actually, it was a little nervous going in. I won't, you know, sugarcoat that at all. The longest time was actually just sitting there waiting the 15 minutes to see if there was a reaction, and there wasn't any so and then I got to go," said Fillip.

Andrews says there are some folks who still aren't ready to get the vaccine, but for the ones that are, they appreciate their help.

“The anxiety. The fear, the frustration, all of that just melting away. And so, I mean, that's what it's all about. All these people in our own community who have been frustrated and felt like they were never going to get their vaccine are now either vaccinated or going to get,” said Andrews.

The first vaccination site was such a huge success the county actually upped the city’s doses to 200.

All those appointments for Wednesday's vaccine site have already been filled.

To find out more information about future vaccine efforts in Nolanville click here.