With more and more people becoming eligible for the COVID vaccine, we’re asking – what about those who can’t get to a pharmacy or other vaccination sites? One south suburban woman told CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra she is struggling to find anyone who will bring her homebound brother a shot.
IRIKA SARGENT: With more and more people becoming eligible for the COVID vaccine, tonight we're asking, what about those who can't get to a pharmacy or other vaccination sites? One South Suburban woman tells our Marie Saavedra she is struggling to find anyone who will bring her homebound brother a shot.
VERNITA ECHOLS: It is a scare daily to check in and see is he OK, is everything safe?
MARIE SAAVEDRA: Every morning, Vernita Echols wonders if this is the day her brother Clarence gets sick.
VERNITA ECHOLS: My brother is disabled, and has been disabled for over 30 years. As a result of that, he developed gross obesity, which of course adds all kinds of major health problems.
MARIE SAAVEDRA: For that reason, he is homebound. The 68-year-old cannot physically get to a vaccination site, as he told us on a video call.
- (ON PHONE) Well, I'm trying to get because I've got two grandkids.
MARIE SAAVEDRA: His sister is desperate for a solution. The City of Chicago has brought shots to the homebound for weeks now, but he lives in Steger so she called Cook County's Department of Public Health.
VERNITA ECHOLS: And they said, well, call back in a few weeks. Right now, we don't have any programs. I reached out to Cook County again and they said, well, you should call the governor's office. And so it became a vicious circle.
MARIE SAAVEDRA: Wednesday, we brought her question to the county.
RACHEL RUBIN: We do have a program. It's modest at the moment, because we are building up providers that are going to be able to go into homebound-- to vaccinate homebound individuals.
MARIE SAAVEDRA: How modest? Just 650 homebound people have received their shots so far.
- And your name, ma'am?
MARIE SAAVEDRA: But that should change. The county also said that the state recently made it easier for home healthcare businesses to apply to get the vaccine and bring it to the people they are already serving, which could be a fast way to get people access.
As for other counties, we found DuPage and Lake just started homebound vaccinations this week. Will is working on a start date. With suburban Cook County now up and running, Echols wants her brother protected as quickly as possible.
VERNITA ECHOLS: I am extraordinarily excited to hear that they are on the radar. But at the same time, every day is a risk.
MARIE SAAVEDRA: In Dolton, Marie Saavedra, CBS 2 News.
IRIKA SARGENT: If you are in suburban Cook County and need to sign up for the homebound program, there's a number to call it's 833-308-1988. We've also put that number and story at CBSChicago.com.