YONKERS, New York (Reuters) – Some elderly people and others can’t leave the house to get the COVID-19 shot – so the vaccine gets to them.
“It’s a blessing,” Clara Vazquez said as her 83-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, prepared for her second vaccination.
Clara Vazquez, 56, uses crutches to walk and suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome. Still, she takes care of her mother’s needs around the clock in their second-floor apartment in Yonkers, just north of New York City.
Like many homebound elderly people with mobility challenges, it would be difficult for Idalia Vazquez to leave her home and get to a vaccination site. A team of health professionals therefore makes home visits.
“It’s worth over a million dollars,” Clara Vazquez said. She said it would take her mother about two hours to descend the only staircase to the front door.
Home vaccinations are free and funded by the Yonkers Office for the Aging and Ro, a healthcare technology company.
Registered nurse Helen Turchioe said she gives around 10 to 15 injections per day to elderly, disabled or homebound patients who cannot leave home or feel unsafe.
While rubbing her hand, Clara Vazquez soothed her mother while Turchioe administered the vaccine made by Moderna.
After the shot, Clara said, “My mother, she is aware of things. She cannot articulate … but I know that seeing her expression, her face, I know that she understands that it is is good for her. “
Turchioe said she was reassured to help at-risk patients.
“Everyone has been so grateful. I have had patients aged 95 and 100 who tell you they wouldn’t have been vaccinated if we couldn’t get out,” she said.
“It’s good to put them at ease and let them know that they can hug their grandchildren and great-grandchildren again.”
There are more than 3 million seniors in New York City who may find it difficult to leave their homes to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Ro. The company, which started its pilot home vaccination program in Yonkers, said it plans to expand it to other communities.
(Reporting by Andrew Hofstetter and Angela Moore; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)