Home-Bound Senior Advocates Want Better Vaccine Access | #hospice | #elderly | #seniors
WASHINGTON — Millions of homebound seniors are eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine but aren’t able to get it.
Some counties and states are beginning to launch programs to deliver the vaccine door to door for these older adults. However, the majority have been overlooked.
“Don’t tell me that vaccines are available, because my mother can’t go and get one, and that’s very, very frustrating,” said Jane Burtnett, the daughter of a home-bound senior.
Burtnett says she’s continually bombarded with phone calls about scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine for her 92-year-old mother, Joan.
“When you have information about when someone can come to the house and give my mother a vaccine, then call me,” Burtnett said. “She’s been bed-bound for about a year. Obviously, she’s in the high-risk group.”
Burtnett is desperate to get her mother vaccinated, especially since she regularly has caregivers, doctors, and other visitors at the house to help out.
It’s “not only for my mother’s health, but the health of those of us who interact with her on a daily and weekly basis. I don’t understand why this wasn’t thought of,” Burtnett said.
“I’m labeling them the forgotten population at this point. They are by and large, an advanced age and have seriously compromised by health conditions,” said William Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice.
Dombi said he has yet to see a federal plan to get this population vaccinated. However, his organization has a meeting on the books with the Biden administration in an effort to change that.
“We hope that we will see some recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control,” Dombi said in an interview with Spectrum News.
“There has been a successful federal program with vaccinating residents of nursing facilities. A similar type of program would work with home care as well. Logistically, it’s clearly a lot more complicated when you’re dealing with millions of people in millions of locations,” he said.
Those logistics have been made a little easier with the recently approved one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which doesn’t require storage at extremely cold temperatures.
That new Johnson & Johnson shot is giving Burtnett a glimmer of hope.
“She really doesn’t have any defenses. It’ll be one less thing I have to worry about,” Burtnett said.