NBC10 Responds

Distributing Vaccines to the Homebound: Access Depends on Where You Live

NBC10 Responds reached out to local counties and states to learn how you can sign up.

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If you’ve been trying to get the COVID-19 vaccine, you know how challenging it can be to get an appointment. But if you’re homebound, it’s almost impossible.

Frank Carrelli of Bucks County told NBC10 Responds he’s on a mission to get the vaccine for his 92-year-old father, Francis.

“We feel we’re doing everything we can to protect my dad,” Carrelli said.

Carrelli and his wife, Lynn, care for Francis. They say they never go out and have everything delivered. They even have a sanitizing station in the garage. But they can’t find a way to get him vaccinated.

“It’s frustrating that we can physically protect our homebound family and friends to a certain degree," Carrelli said. "We can’t protect them to the degree a vaccine can protect them.”

The director of the Bucks County Health Department, Dr. David Damsker, says it’ll be a month or two before they’ll be able to vaccinate the homebound.

“We will get a list together of people that require this kind of service. It’s very labor intensive obviously,” Dr. Damsker said.

He told NBC10 Responds Bucks County residents can call or email the Health Department to get on a list. They will also provide a way to sign up through their website.

In Lehigh County, the Allentown Health Bureau began vaccinating homebound seniors on May 8 of last year. They’re coordinating with local Meals on Wheels operations to get a list of people who want the vaccine. From there, paramedics are administering the first dose of the Moderna vaccine during home visits.

Allentown EMS hopes to vaccinate 62 homebound people within two weeks. Then, they’ll go back for the second round of shots.

In Philadelphia County, there’s no plan yet to distribute the vaccine to homebound residents.

Montgomery County’s Department of Public Safety is delivering the vaccine to homebound residents. Right now, only those in congregate settings are getting the shot.

As for Chester County, a spokesperson for the county's Health Department told NBC10 Responds the best way to register someone's information is to contact their COVID-19 Call Center at 610-344-6225.

"Those who answer will be able to take all relevant information and then forward it to Health Department staff who are working on the scheduling process for our homebound residents," the spokesperson said.

In the state of Delaware, a pilot program is underway where a paratransit takes nurses to the homebound.

NBC10 Reached out to the State of New Jersey to learn its plan for vaccinating the homebound. We are waiting for a response.

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