Health workers make home visits to give COVID vaccines to homebound Americans

For people who can’t leave their homes, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 has been a challenge. Some cities have been working to change that by bringing the vaccines to them.  

“My husband was very active before COVID. We went to the gym. My husband is a golfer,” said Rose Lee Goldberg of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Goldberg said her husband, Gordon, tested positive for COVID-19 in December. After a series of hospital visits, he’s been bedridden ever since.  

“I started calling around because I thought there’s got to be some way that people come to bed-bound people’s homes and give them the vaccine,” Goldberg said.

On Monday, he received his second dose of the Moderna vaccine at his home from paramedics. 

“He has a long way to go, but he is recovering. I thank God and all the people who have helped him along the way. I really, I can’t tell you how grateful I am,” Rose Lee Goldberg said.

Since March, Allentown EMS has been vaccinating people who can’t leave their homes.

“It makes me feel good because it’s getting them what they need and it gets us closer to normal again,” said Bill Carver, a paramedic with Allentown EMS.

The city set up a Homebound Vaccine Hotline and is scheduling at-home vaccine visits daily.

“I think we’re somewhere close to 100 people that we’ve been able to vaccinate so far,” Carver said.

In Trenton, New Jersey, city officials teamed up with Meals on Wheels — a food delivery service for seniors — to figure out who may need the shot from home.

“We have received so many calls from individuals and I can tell you, these are truly residents that we really need the services,” said Dr. Adela Ames-Lopez, Trenton’s Health and Human Services director.

Initially, the city was using Johnson & Johnson shots for the program. After a national pause of the vaccine, they paused the program for four days before resuming using the Moderna vaccine. 

“We have [vaccinated] quite a few that are blind, quite a few are bed-ridden. Many are confined to like a wheelchair and they need a cane to walk,” Ames-Lopez said.

According to Ames-Lopez, they have been able to vaccinate dozens of people with severe autism, people who are bed-ridden, wheelchair-bound and blind. 

Delaware County, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, launched a homebound vaccine program in March after they saw a need in their community.

“A lot of people for the past year have really had mobility challenges. Whether they don’t have access to transportation, they have caregivers, the homeless. This program really serves all of those parts of our community,” said Kevin Madden, Delaware County councilman.

According to the county, about 1,500 people have signed up for an at-home shot.

“The program is only four or five weeks old now and we are actually doing more each week. Our end goal is to be at 500 doses a week,” said Jerome Casey, who coordinates the program.

Rose Marie Molinaro, who is visually impaired, said she wouldn’t have been able to get vaccinated without programs like this.

“This has been a really hard time for me. I’ve had to be alone on so many levels,” said Molinaro.

Molinaro got fully vaccinated this week. She left her Christmas decorations up for this moment, when she can reunite with friends.  

“It’s Christmas until we are all together again. I have been looking forward to this,” Molinaro said.

People who run homebound vaccine programs encourage friends and family to schedule at-home vaccines for those who may not have access to phones or internet. 

Credit: NYPOST

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