On Monday, paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) began fanning out across Los Angeles County, vaccinating homebound seniors. It’s part of a unique effort by Medicare Advantage plan SCAN Health Plan and logistics platform MedArrive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a little more than a quarter of Americans 65 and older still haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. Some of those who haven’t received vaccinations are homebound and too ill or frail to get them at vaccination sites. 

SCAN Health Plan’s chief pharmacy officer, Sharon Jhawar, told McKnight’s Home Care Daily that many of the communities couldn’t figure out a way to reach homebound seniors to get them vaccinated.

Sharon Jhawar, SCAN Health Plan

“Many told us they were looking to learn from us and so we foresee public health agencies following our lead and leveraging efficient programs like ours in the future,” Jhawar said.

SCAN Health Plan’s vaccination initiative is not the first effort by insurers and care providers to vaccinate seniors in their homes. In mid-March, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield teamed up with New York City’s Public Health Department to help vaccinate seniors and the disabled in their homes. A New York PACE program also began in-home vaccinations for its clients earlier this month.

Vaccine hesitancy has been a problem for some seniors. SCAN Health Plan said all of the EMTs and paramedics dispatched to homes for vaccinations are trained on how to respond to allergic reactions. About a dozen EMTs are administering the vaccine to Scan members.

SCAN Health Plan has about 220,000 members in California. It also will vaccinate the family members and caregivers of its clients.