St. Joseph’s/Candler paying transportation costs for those seeking COVID-19 vaccine

September 29, 2021

For more than a year and a half, we have all been living in the stark reality of this insidious disease, as well as the devastating collateral damage that it has caused in our lives and in the lives of those we love.

Last week, our country reached an unprecedented milestone: nearly one in eight people have been infected since the pandemic began, and one in 500 Americans, over 650,000 lives, have been lost to this ferocious, invisible killer.

The unrelenting power of this virus is plainly evident. The current delta strain has proven to be an even more formidable foe. Younger and younger patients are being hospitalized at record rates, and unfortunately, many of these young adults may succumb to this deadly predator.

An avalanche of medical evidence has shown that the vaccine is safe and provides a guardrail against hospitalization and death. Further, it combats the delta strain and can prevent even more deadly viral strains from evolving. Yet, amidst a tinderbox of misinformation, natural anxiety and normal human hesitation – accelerated by social media – the truth has been dramatically diffused.

Yes, COVID is real. But the vaccines are just as real, and they protect and save lives. Yet, currently less than half of Chatham County residents are fully vaccinated.

Health-care professionals are frustrated, and rightly so. They’ve seen the effects firsthand and know that the vaccine efficiently combats the debilitating effects of this virus while helping to mitigate its spread. This simple yet powerful tool to defeat this deadly enemy is easily accessible through the Chatham County Health Department and at times at various community outreach sites.

And it’s free.

And that’s why St. Joseph’s/Candler, our area’s largest health-care provider, is not only encouraging all eligible persons to be vaccinated, they’re putting their money where their mouth is and removing yet another obstacle to vaccination.

St. Joseph’s/Candler believes there should be no barrier to getting vaccinated, which is why they have initiated a new free transportation program through a partnership with the Yellow Cab Company. The program is open to any residents of Chatham County who may have difficulty getting to a DPH vaccination site due to transportation issues. St. Joseph’s/Candler will cover the cost.

The process is simple. Residents of Chatham County can make an appointment for their vaccine by calling the Department of Public Health at 912-230-5506, or by going online to

More on getting a vaccination:Here are upcoming events in Chatham, Bryan and Effingham counties

Once you’ve scheduled your appointment, call the St. Joseph’s/Candler Transportation Assistance line at 912-819-2883, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You must call a minimum of three hours in advance of the appointment. If your appointment is the next morning, you should call the day before. You may call as early as a week in advance of your appointment to arrange for this free transportation.

All requests for free transportation must be made through the special St. Joseph’s/Candler Transportation line.

The program will be available through the end of October. You can find more details at

One less obstacle. One more reason to get the vaccine.

If we can reach a 70% vaccination rate, we can make great strides in containing the virus and protecting the lives of family members, parents, spouses, children, neighbors, friends and our overall community.

This pandemic and its effects on our lives has been far from a smooth ride. St. Joseph’s/Candler’s free ride program could just be the lift that our community needs.