Healthcare providers stepped up efforts Tuesday to gain an upper hand on the COVID-19 virus, offering in-home vaccinations and more calls for mandatory shots for all healthcare workers.

In Ohio, healthcare startup Offor Health launched an in-home vaccination program targeting seniors and others who lack access to transportation. The company is partnering with community organizations and by Tuesday had signed up more than 40 people in Northeast Ohio to get shots in their homes.

Offor health has been setting up mobile clinics in communities where vaccination rates are low. Those clinics have served as a pipeline to the homebound who either have trouble getting to a vaccination site or remain vaccine hesitant.

“These are often people who are on the fence,” Jaime Wilson, Offor Health Director of Paramedics, told McKnight’s Home Care Daily. “They may be interested, but at the same time they want to talk to someone. They want to talk to that individual that can give them the information that we’re able to provide to make that decision on whether or not they want to receive the vaccine,” 

The program will also offer vaccinations to caregivers or family members of homebound patients.

California mandate

Also on Tuesday, the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) backed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) new mandate requiring all state workers and healthcare providers to get COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Healthcare workers have the trust of their patients, have the opportunity to provide education and support to patients with vaccine hesitancy, and are in a position to lead by example,” CAFP President Shannon Connolly, M.D., said. “Healthcare workers also have the responsibility to ensure the safety of their patients and their colleagues.”

The push to require vaccinations for healthcare workers intensified earlier this week as the Veterans Administration announced it is requiring all 115,000 of its frontline healthcare providers to get vaccinated over the next two months. Also on Monday, nearly 60 medical and senior service associations, including LeadingAge, called for mandatory vaccinations of all healthcare workers. Associations representing home care workers continue to advocate for voluntary vaccinations.

Setting the record straight 

Among those not calling for mandatory vaccinations are two major home care associations, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and the Home Care Association of America. “It has been reported in some news outlets that NAHC has joined in calling for mandatory vaccination against the novel coronavirus COVID-19 for all frontline healthcare workers,” NAHC said in a statement released Tuesday. “This is not accurate. While NAHC continues to urge all medically eligible Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible, we believe every health care provider must decide for itself how best to serve the interests of its patients, while respecting the sensitivities of its employees.”

The spotlight on the vaccine comes as the COVID-19 Delta variant tightens its grip on unvaccinated Americans. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 data tracker map showed a large swath of the Southeast and West awash in red, indicating more than 100 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents have been reported in the past week. Florida and Arkansas shared the dubious distinction of having every county in those states listed as having high levels of community transmission.