SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Amid the ongoing slowdown in COVID-19 vaccinations, health officials in Clark County are shifting their strategy by bringing the vaccine directly to some neighborhoods.

The Clark County Combined Health District has obtained a box truck, which will soon be used to operate mobile vaccination clinics across both urban and rural sections of the county.

Up to this point in the pandemic, many of the health department’s vaccinations have been administered at a clinic inside the former JC Penney at the Upper Valley Mall. As demand at that site has declined, health officials have reduced its hours in favor of smaller, shorter-term clinics at various other locations, according to health commissioner Charles Patterson.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 37% of people in Clark County have received at least one dose of the vaccine – which is still a long way to go toward achieving herd immunity.

“The uptake is still very slow, and it will be very difficult to achieve President Biden’s goal, 70 percent of our adults by July 4, at this rate,” Patterson said.

The mobile clinics run out of the box truck will target areas that rank higher on the social vulnerability index (SVI), which are home to disadvantaged populations that lack access to health care, Patterson explained.

“Our highest SVI area outside of the city of Springfield happens to be in New Carlisle area,” he said. “And so last Saturday we were doing outreach to a Hispanic church there.”

Ultimately, health officials and some vaccinated community members say they hope to see more people choose to roll up their sleeves to get the shot.

“In my opinion, you should get it,” McCorkle said. “It’s the lesser of the two evils.”

Clark County’s coronavirus case rate now stands at 118 cases per 100,000 people, Patterson said, which is a significant drop from 272 cases per 100,000 in April. He attributes the decline to more people getting outside and getting vaccinated.

All vaccine clinics run by the Clark County Combined Health District are accepting walk-ins, Patterson said. For more information, click here.