USA TODAY Profiles Vaxi Taxi in "News From Around our 50 States"

GRANGER, IA

A vaccination event at the Islamic and Cultural Center Bosniak on Sunday morning aimed to deliver COVID-19 protection to 300 people. Ankeny vaccine distribution startup Vaxi Taxi hosted the event, where Elvedin Sivac, president of the Es-Selam Mosque, was among those receiving their first shot. Alma Michelson, a pharmacist for Walgreens, helped set up Sunday’s clinic and said many of her fellow Bosnians distrust vaccines.

“It’s a community that’s not quite on board with vaccines because they were influenced by the media so much,” she said. Other Bosnians in town are considered “essential workers” and were already given vaccines through their employers, Michelson said.

Casey Villhauer started Vaxi Taxi in July as a way to bring all types of vaccines into people’s homes or directly to them. She gave a flu shot to a person on a tractor once but said the shot she gave contractor Safet Tabakovic inside the minaret he’s building atop the mosque was unique. Michelson, Sivac and Villhauer hiked up 111 steps to give him his injection 80 feet off the ground.

“We've reached a lot of people that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten a shot,” Villhauer said.