(WXYZ) — On Friday, Beaumont Troy will hold a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for those with special needs.
Whether it's fear of needles, anxiety, dementia, autism or a medical need that makes a traditional clinic setting difficult, two nurses have designed a work-around to get more people vaccinated. It's by-appointment-only and runs from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
A mass vaccination clinic can be daunting for someone who has special needs, so the two nurses decided they would meet those patients where they were at.
Inma Ball drove her 14-year-old daughter from an hour away to get her COVID-19 vaccine from Sarah Rauner, a pediatric nurse, and Naomi Ishioka, the disaster preparedness coordinator for Beaumont Troy.
Ball's daughter is seriously afraid of needles, something that's stood in the way of care in the past.
"Naomi was the most calm and she used the perfect words to talk to my daughter," Ball said.
It's patients like Ball's daughter that sparked the idea for a special needs vaccine clinic. Rauner and Ishioka were hearing too many stories of people not getting vaccinated because they couldn't find a clinic setting that worked for them.
"It started with patients that are on the autism spectrum that were having difficulties in getting vaccines easily," Rauner said.
Sensory overload, for example, can deter certain patients in a traditional clinic setting.
"We just kind of starting talking back and forth between the two of us, how can we help these kids?" Ishioka said.
"Naomi had put a message out on vaccine finder, just saying hey if you need extra help message us. And one of the first families that had scheduled with us was a family that drove about an hour and a half away," Rauner added.
Both of them may meet you at your car to administer the shot, or they may bring a weighted blanket for you.
In the case of Ball's daughter, a lot of explanation about the process to calm her down, and a teddy bear for extra support.
It's not just for kids, it's for anyone who needs a little extra help.
"These families are just really thankful for somebody who will just take the time to listen to what they need," Ishioka said.
"By getting these people vaccinated, it's getting them back to their therapies," Rauner added.
Ball's daughter will soon return for her second dose, hopefully with just a little less fear than before, thanks to both of the nurses.
Appointments are required, but both of them say they will not turn people away. All you have to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule.
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