Homebound seniors face extra challenge getting vaccinated

At 94, Gladys Palach should be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but that's not the case because she's homebound and cannot leave her condo.

Video Transcript

STACEY BACA: Gladys Palach is 94, and her daughter is still struggling to get her the COVID-19 vaccine.

ALICE PALACH-SPERA: It's been an ongoing thing. It's like a full time job, already. I'm just exhausted from it all.

STACEY BACA: Gladys, like so many seniors, is homebound and cannot leave her La Grange condo. Her family is trying to get her vaccinated at home.

ALICE PALACH-SPERA: It's been such a struggle because-- we are so worried because she's at such high risk because of her age and all her health conditions.

STACEY BACA: Cook County Health and AgeOptions are reaching vulnerable seniors through pop-up clinics in suburban Cook County. They've had five so far, and seven more are scheduled.

DIANE SLEZAK: We know the next step that we need to take is to get to the homebound, and that is a challenge.

STACEY BACA: The president of AgeOptions says that first, caregivers must be vaccinated. If your elderly loved one can get into a vehicle, then consider a drive-through vaccination site. And as an absolute last resort, call the Cook County homebound hotline to get on a waiting list, and we'll have that number in just a moment.

DIANE SLEZAK: They are taking names of people to be vaccinated in their homes. We cannot tell you right now exactly when we're going to be able to start that because it depends on supply.

STACEY BACA: Organizations that help older adults, like Aging Care Connections, have faced the challenge.

DEBRA VERSCHELDE: It's been really frustrating, not only for us but for those people who really want to help their parents, their loved ones.

STACEY BACA: Gladys's daughter has called the hotline and still does not have a confirmed visit scheduled. She hopes her mom's experience will force health officials to find a solution soon.

ALICE PALACH-SPERA: She can't even hug us. We can't give her a kiss, nothing, you know. And I think that's why she's getting even more and more depressed.