Homebound Families Are Eager For City’s New COVID Vaccination Program


Earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, 89-year-old Rosa Elena Egipciaco was in a position to make use of her walker to go locations. However when on a regular basis life got here to a halt final March, she may now not go to bodily remedy appointments and ultimately ended up fully bedridden, in accordance with her daughter Yessmin Egipciaco, who’s been caring for her mother for greater than a decade.

Now, the youthful Egipciaco desires to get her mom vaccinated. However two-and-a-half months into town’s vaccine marketing campaign, there’s nonetheless no program for getting photographs to individuals who can’t go away their properties. Some seniors can not journey to vaccination websites as a result of they’re bodily unable to commute because of their age and well being situations, and others concern lengthy strains and crowded areas for these at a excessive danger of extreme COVID-19.

“I began making calls right here and there—the Division of Ageing, to Well being and Hospitals—in all places. No vaccines. They can not come to the home to present it to her,” stated Yessmin, who lives along with her mother in Sunnyside, Queens, and has been in contact with Sunnyside Neighborhood Providers on vaccination prospects.

The newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine may quickly change that. Metropolis well being officers hope to roll out the vaccine to homebound seniors by way of an in-home supply program this month.

“Positively, it would make me really feel fully extra relaxed,” Yessmin stated of her mom getting vaccinated. “If somebody comes right here they usually use two masks, no less than I do know she’s protected.”

An old photograph of Yessmin and Rosa Elena Egipciaco.


An outdated {photograph} of Yessmin and Rosa Elena Egipciaco.

Offered by Yessmin Egipciaco

Particulars on this system are restricted, however Mayor Invoice de Blasio sees the Johnson & Johnson choice as a saving grace for homebound seniors. “This is likely one of the easiest makes use of for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” de Blasio instructed reporters on Tuesday throughout a press briefing.

The vaccine requires one shot and could be refrigerated at regular temperatures. It’s much less efficient than Pfizer and Moderna at defending towards an infection altogether—however is very efficient at stopping extreme illness and dying. Well being specialists urge folks to get no matter vaccine turns into accessible.

For Yessmin, the announcement comes after months of deploying further precautions to guard her mother, who additionally has dementia. She requires any house well being aides or guests to put on double masks and alter their sneakers and garments from these worn on the subway. She instructed her brother to get examined and quarantine for 14 days earlier than coming over.

“It’s been very troublesome,” Yessmin stated.

De Blasio stated town would arrange this system this month however cautioned how labor-intensive the hassle can be. Round 70,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines will arrive starting Wednesday or Thursday over the subsequent two weeks, NYC Well being Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi stated.

“It’s one thing that’s logistically difficult, however we’re dedicated to doing it within the coming days,” Chokshi added. The Metropolis Council not too long ago handed a invoice that may require the mayor’s officers to develop a plan in 30 days and publish it on the well being division’s web site.

This system could present aid to seniors who can enterprise to a close-by vaccine hub if known as upon—however with unimaginable issue. Centenarian Una Roberts, who offers with arthritis in her legs and receives her meals by way of a Meals on Wheels program with the Decrease East Aspect non-profit Henry Road Settlement, had a vaccine appointment at a close-by Duane Reade on Monday.

However the Two Bridges resident ended up canceling due to how a lot ache she was in that day. She’s been bedridden for round two months, in accordance with her granddaughter, Ferria Charles.

“She’s very involved in regards to the virus coming into the home,” stated Charles. “We haven’t gone wherever.” Charles added that it’s safer for her grandmother to get the vaccine in her house as an alternative of ready in line at a clinic.

“Additionally, we do not understand how lengthy the wait will probably be. She will get sleepy actually quick,” Charles stated.

Roberts dreamt of getting a birthday celebration final summer time when she turned 100 however as an alternative joined family members for a digital gathering over Zoom. Charles stated her grandmother is raring to get vaccinated to have the ability to go to church. “I prefer to go to church. They’re good folks—the preacher, my pastor,” Roberts stated.

A photograph from summer 2020 of Ferria Charles and Una Roberts.


{A photograph} from summer time 2020 of Ferria Charles and Una Roberts.

Offered by Ferria Charles

Amy Chalfy, the top of residential, protecting, and authorized companies at a senior companies group known as JASA, stated round 5,000 folks they serve would profit from an in-home vaccination marketing campaign.

“We’re actually considering of people who find themselves both actually bodily frail or have a cognitive concern the place their capability to handle the duty of going to a clinic scenario for a vaccine—that may be very overwhelming,” Chalfy stated. “Should you’re caring for any individual who has some dementia, simply having to get them to a docs’ appointment in a well timed style could be difficult.”

JASA, which operates 10 senior housing complexes, is amongst teams working with town’s Division of Ageing to develop an in-home vaccine program and determine households with homebound residents. Their complexes certified for a federal program during which 70% of residents had been vaccinated, however homebound seniors they work with are scattered at buildings throughout town.

“Having an in-home alternative can be terrific, each for the person and naturally for the caregiver,” Chalfy stated.