Grant funding to help homebound Oklahomans get to vaccines

Tina Bridenstine
The Shawnee News-Star

Recent grants from AARP Oklahoma, including one to the local Central Oklahoma Transit System (COTS), are providing help for organizations that offer transportation options to homebound Oklahomans who want to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

AARP Oklahoma provided $13,500 in grant funding to 11 non-profit transportation organizations across the state “to partner and fund rides for rural, urban and veteran residents who do not have access to receive the vaccination,” a press release from AARP Oklahoma said.

“Transit providers play a crucial role connecting citizens with access to medical care, especially those who live in rural or underserved areas,” said AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl. “Unfortunately, lack of transportation may prevent those who want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We want to help remove those barriers.”

COTS, which serves Pottawatomie and Seminole counties, received a $1,000 grant.

“We are pleased to be able to help get our citizens to the vaccination sites,” COTS Director of Transportation Tina Lowery said. “This means that hopefully we are taking the steps to improve the health of our community, which in turn will improve our economy. We need to get back to some normalcy. It's a start. We are excited that AARP has chosen us in doing more of what we have already been doing.”

She added that COTS asks for rides to be scheduled 24 to 48 hours in advance.

For more information about COTS, visit cocaa.org or call 405-273-3000.

Other organizations that received a $1,000 grant include: Cherokee Strip Transit, KiBois, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, Pelivan Transit, Red River Public Transportation Service, Southern Oklahoma Rural Transportation System, Tulsa Health Care Indian Resource Center, and Variety Care.

AARP Oklahoma also awarded a $2,000 grant to Veterans Families United and a $2,500 grant to ITNCentralOklahoma.

For more information about AARP's, including COVID-19 resources, visit aarp.org.