Two local organizations partnered to give COVID-19 vaccines to some of the most vulnerable people in Lucas County.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Those with mental health or substance use disorders may not have easy access to getting the COVID vaccine.

To help, the Toledo Clinic and Mental Health Recovery Services Board of Lucas County held a closed pod clinic on Saturday. Patients received the Moderna vaccine.

“We wanted to offer our facilities so that the Wernert Center and other volunteers could come in and some of the patients may know in order for them to feel comfortable,” said Dr. Eric Thompson, Director of Pharmacy at The Toledo Clinic.

The vaccine clinic was walk-in style for people to come at their convenience rather than having to schedule appointments.

Executive Director of the Mental Health Recovery Services Board, Scott Sylak, says they’re working together to make sure the most vulnerable populations are able to get vaccinated. 

A closed pod is ideal, he says, because often times places with a lot of people can be too much for them.

“Individuals that are in our system, they’re not often comfortable going in larger groups. Having a lot of external stimuli all around and negotiating organizations that might be unfamiliar with them” Sylak said.

The clinic saw about 100 people, which is lower than they expected.

Although Sylak says out of the 36,000 Lucas county residents receiving care through their organization, many of them have already received their COVID-19 shot.

“We’re going to take what we learned today and we’re going to apply it into, how to reach those populations and help them get the shot. Maybe it’ll be another closed pod, maybe it’ll be building off of what’s existing in our community. But, we’re certainly going to support them through the process” he said.

Going forward the organization will also try to target people who many not know how to sign up or who are still on the fence for getting a vaccine.

Those who got a vaccine received a $10 gift card. They will receive a t-shirt when they come back for their second dose. This is to help incentivize getting the vaccine.