In an effort to ensure that all community members have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Orange County Mobile Vaccine Team is ready to vaccinate people who are homebound or are otherwise unable to travel to a vaccine clinic.
Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart said, “Orange County may lead the state in vaccinations with over 60% of community members fully vaccinated, but we will not rest until everyone is able to get a vaccine if they want one.”
Landon Weaver, Community Paramedic Coordinator for Orange County Emergency Services, said, “Our mission as community paramedics is to identify people who have fallen between the cracks and come up with solutions so there is equitable vaccine distribution for all.”
To date the Orange County Mobile Vaccine Team has administered COVID-19 vaccine to 44 homebound individuals. They report that the most challenging part of this program has been identifying those in need. They encourage all community members to make referrals for individuals who may be encountering challenges getting vaccinated. This may be done by visiting www.orangecountync.gov/MobileVax or by calling 919-245-6127.
Who is Eligible
The Mobile Vaccine Team serves people who are medically fragile or may be physically unable to leave their home. For instance, people who need supplemental oxygen encounter logistical challenges when traveling to a vaccine clinic. Or bed bound people may not be able to make or afford the trip because of the high cost of convalescent services.
“We work with agencies in the community, non-profits, coalitions, community groups, and health and living facilities to identify individuals across the county that may be in need of services, especially those that are homebound and are unable to visit community clinics,” said Katie Benedyk, Community Paramedic with Orange County Emergency Services. “Many of the people we have served do employ health services to come to their home, but these services have largely been unable to provide a vaccine to them. We are able to fill that gap.”
“We are privileged to be invited into people’s homes. Some of the people we have worked with have not had friends or family around them for months,” said Jill McCullough, Public Health Nurse with the Orange County Health Department. “I recall one particular visit in which an older woman pointed out her iPad and told us that had been the only way to speak with her family for many months. The COVID-19 vaccine has allowed her to be able to see her family again. To her, the vaccine is a beacon of hope in this pandemic and it is wonderful to be a part of that hope.”
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