Vaccination house call for 106-year-old LA resident

A paramedic makes a special house call to give 106-year-old Maria Torres in Los Angeles, California a COVID-19 vaccination. This report produced by Yahaira Jacquez.

Video Transcript

- Maria Torres is 106 years old. Knitting and solving crossword puzzles is how the mother of 12 passes the time in her small apartment in Los Angeles, California. For the last couple of weeks, Torres, a native from Guerrero, Mexico, who migrated to the US in 1976, had been asking her grandson, Frankie Mercado, for the COVID-19 vaccine.

MARIA TORRES: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

INTERPRETER: I heard that someone who gets vaccinated doesn't die soon, and that's what I don't want yet. I want to live some more days. Whatever God grants me, but my will is that. To last more days.

- But Mercado couldn't imagine taking his grandmother, who uses a walker, out of the apartment and driving her to a vaccination clinic. Just getting Torres from the kitchen to her bedroom is an ordeal.

Enter CJ Bartholemew, a nurse manager for Care Ambulance.

CJ BARTHOLEMEW: And when I heard we have this lady who's 106 years old, she survived the last pandemic, and she's really not able to leave her house, I figure coming in for a few hours on the weekend is the least I could do.

- On February 13, Bartholemew paid Torres a visit to administer the vaccine.

CJ BARTHOLEMEW: That's it!

- Nurse Bartholemew stayed for 30 minutes after he gave her the vaccine to observe any reaction in Torres, who is healthy, but has type 2 diabetes. He emphasized that the house call was a special occasion, and as much as they would like to help more people like Torres, their resources are limited.

Her grandson was thankful, saying he can't imagine life without the woman who has raised him since he was five.

FRANKIE MERCADO: I don't want her to be separated from me, and she's lived this long life, and the last thing I would want for her is to die alone. And I can't visit her.

- This is the second pandemic Torres has lived through. She was a toddler during the 1918 Spanish flu. With one shot down and another to go, Torres says she hopes family and friends will soon start visiting again.