needle in vaccine vial

With there being between 2 million and 4.4 million older homebound adults, many with multiple chronic conditions, several medical centers and health organizations are sending doctors and nurses to apartment buildings and private homes to vaccinate homebound seniors against COVID-19, Kaiser Health News reported.

The organizations include Boston Medical Center; Wake Forest Baptist Health in NC; fire department paramedics in Miami Beach, FL; a visiting nurse service in East St. Louis, MO; and Geisinger Health, serving central and northern Pennsylvania. Nationally, the Department of Veterans Affairs has provided more than 11,000 vaccines to veterans who receive primary medical care at home. While nursing home patients were recognized early on as a priority group for vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only recently offered guidance on serving the population of homebound seniors.

“This is a hidden group that’s going to be overlooked if we don’t step up efforts to reach them,” said Steven Landers, M.D., president and CEO of Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, which provides home health and hospice care to more than 10,000 people in New Jersey, northeastern Ohio and southeastern Florida. His organization plans to launch a pilot home vaccination program for frail homebound patients in coming days.

William Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, agreed that older adults living at home have been left behind.

“There is no distribution of vaccines to our members, and there has been no planning surrounding meeting the needs of the people we serve,” he told the news outlet.