MACON, Miss. (WCBI) – Noxubee County Transportation launched its Free COVID Vaccine Ride service Thursday that will take passengers across the Golden Triangle to and from their vaccination appointments.
“Transportation is a major need,” said Noxubee County Transportation Executive Director Freddie Poindexter. “Most of the people we serve are actually here in Noxubee County and we perform anywhere from 15 to 20 trips per day.”
Poindexter says that it was one week ago that he and his colleagues were discussing the COVID-19 vaccine when a woman made the comment that while she would like to get one, she didn’t think she could.
“She said ‘Well, I would go, but I don’t really have a way to,'” Poindexter said.
Knowing that they were already equipped to take people wherever they needed to be, Poindexter called the Mississippi Department of Transportation to see if they could do the same thing free of charge for Golden Triangle residents who want to get to their COVID shot appointments.
They gave him the go-ahead and the free ride program launched Thursday, the same day that the vaccine became available for all Mississippians 16 and older.
“Call us (662-726-9640) and let us know the date and the time of your appointment and we schedule it in our system,” Poindexter said. “And we schedule it in our system.”
On the day of the appointment, one of Noxubee’s 12 vans will be at the agreed-upon address to pick riders up and take them to the vaccination clinic where the passengers have scheduled their appointments. Then drivers take them back home and will even make a pit stop for something to eat.
“It makes it so much simpler because it allows me and my mom to go,” said Veranice Hill, who is going with her 83-year-old mother to get their first doses Friday. “My mom is incapacitated and with the van, it allows her to go in her wheelchair because he has a lift on it.”
It also offers people worried about the chance of side effects some peace of mind.
“For me, just not knowing how I may or may not react after receiving my second dose, I may not feel like driving,” said Shuqualak resident Carla Mayberry.
Poindexter says they are looking to hire at least six more drivers so that they can accommodate as many people as possible.
“We want to make sure you don’t have an excuse,” he said. “If you want a vaccine, we are available to get you there.”