Homebound Seniors Get Their COVID Shots

CBS 2's Marie Saavedra reports having people come to them, says one senior, has been a godsend.

Video Transcript

MARIE SAAVEDRA: They are, Irika. We were able to tag along today, at a safe distance, with one of these at-home health care providers. And with this close look, it was really obvious to see that it makes so much sense to have the people that are already doing these house calls give out vaccinations too.

Inside this home in Harwood Heights, a 95-year-old is getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Outside, he is one of thousands 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.

JAMES BROWN: I'm thinking to myself, all these different sites here, and I can't do that because we're basically homebound.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: 50 years into their marriage, James and Harriet know when it's time to call in help. A family member arranged Monday's big moment.

JAMES BROWN: So there's no way we can just hop in a car-- or make an appointment somewhere, hop in a car, and go get us, so this is a godsent.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: The team from Prime Care Physicians is here, working with Cook County's Department of Public Health to add COVID vaccinations to its in-home care.

ROSHANI PATEL: We are already prepared for those scenarios from our everyday work.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: As of last Wednesday, some 650 homebound people were vaccinated in suburban Cook. The Browns add two more, with Johnson & Johnson for Harriet first, then James.

ROSHANI PATEL: At that time, it was just Pfizer and Moderna, and it was challenging to try to vaccinate these people for a second time.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: That makes it easier to reach more people faster. And so does this-- the Illinois Department of Public Health's I-CARE program. It allows home health agencies to become vaccine providers. Right now, there are just six enrolled statewide. Four of them are in Cook County. That doesn't sound like much now, but that will change.

JAMES BROWN: It gives you a little added psyche up there, knowing that you're somewhat protected.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: And it lets the Browns do their part to fight the virus from the safety of their home.

JAMES BROWN: Well, let's just hope that it all works out and everybody gets their vaccination and this comes to an end.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: So when can we expect to have more providers giving out vaccine to the homebound? The state tells me that they have several companies in the pipeline to apply, so those numbers should be growing soon. Irika.

IRIKA SARGENT: OK, on those numbers, Marie, still, there has to be more than just a single-digit number of agencies vaccinating patients.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: Right. That made my eyebrows jump up too. But I asked the state. They said that those numbers do not account for these home health care services that are tied to hospitals. So those are in big numbers. They have already been vaccinating their patients that are homebound. So taking those out, you can see the big differentiation in the numbers. But again, those who are applying with the state, we should be seeing the numbers grow in just a matter of weeks.

- All right. Marie, thank you.