CHICAGO (CBS) — Starting today, Illinoisans over the age of 16 are eligible for a vaccine.
That makes the pool of people looking for a shot wider than ever before. But it’s also brought new attention to those who can’t easily sign up for a dose, much less leave the house to get it.
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CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra is following the effort to vaccinate the homebound and reports from Prospect Heights. The state is adding more access for home health providers.
CBS 2 was able to, at a safe distance, spend time with one of the home health care providers that are giving out vaccines. This closer look really showed the value in having people who are already making house calls, do the vaccinations too.
Inside a home in Harwood Heights, a 95-year-old is getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Outside, he is one of thousands in suburban Cook County, whose only chance at a vaccine is from medical assistants, getting in cars and bringing the doses to them. The Browns, of Prospect Heights, are next.
“I’m thinking to myself, all these different sites and Harriet and I can’t do that. Because we’re basically homebound,” said James Brown.
Fifty years into their marriage, James and Harriet Brown know when it’s time to call in help. A family member arranged Monday’s big moment.
“So there’s no way we can just hop in a car, or make an appointment somewhere, hop in a car and go get it,” said Brown. “So, this is a godsend.”
The team from Prime Care Physicians is working with Cook County’s Department of Public Health to add COVID vaccinations to its in-home care.
“We’re already prepared for those scenarios from our everyday work,” said Roshani Patel of Prime Care Physicians.
It’s one and done for Harriet first, as they receive a dose of the Johnson & Johnson. Then the same for James.
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“At that time, it was just Pfizer and Moderna. And it was challenging to challenge these people for a second time,” said Patel.
That single shot makes it easier to reach more homebound people, faster.
So does this:
In the last month, the Illinois department of Public Health started accepting applications from home health agencies to join its I-CARE program that allows them to become COVID-19 vaccine providers. Right now there are just six agencies enrolled statewide, four of them are in Cook County.
It doesn’t sound like much now, but that will change.
“It gives you a little added psyche up there knowing that you’re somewhat protected,” said Brown.
And so people like the Browns can to do their part to fight the virus, from the safety of their home.
“Let’s just hope that it all works out and everybody gets their vaccination and this comes to an end,” said Brown.
When can we expect more providers to offer in home vaccines? The state said they have several other agencies in the approval process, so the ranks should grow soon.
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