Wallingford vaccine clinics reach homebound, vulnerable residents



reporter photo

 

WALLINGFORD — As the number of people vaccinated for COVID-19 grows, town health officials are continuing their efforts to reach vulnerable populations.

According to the state Department of Public Health, 64.79 percent of Wallingford residents had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as of May 26.

The Wallingford Health Department stopped running in-person clinics at the Wallingford Senior Center to focus on mobile clinics and reaching homebound residents, pivoting at around the time the Hartford Healthcare mass vaccination center at the Oakdale Theatre opened in early March.

“The Hartford Healthcare center has so much vaccine,” said Vanessa Bautista, the Wallingford Health Department’s chief sanitarian, “that it wasn't really worth it for us to vaccinate 100 or 200 (people), when they can do more than 1,000 at a time.”

Health officials have been working closely with the Spanish Community of Wallingford to conduct mobile clinics. Clinics at SCOW began in mid-April. At first, it was mostly the Hispanic population that sought vaccines through SCOW, but now it’s more of a mix, Bautista said.

Bautista said the SCOW clinics were effective in reaching vulnerable residents who may have been afraid of reaching out or going to hospitals and pharmacies.

Vaccination is available to residents free of charge regardless of insurance or immigration status, Bautista said.

Homebound visits

The health department also has been working to reach individuals who are unable to leave their home without difficulty.

Bautista said that people usually are homebound due to advanced age, illness or disability.

In order to qualify for homebound vaccination, a person must meet certain eligibility criteria, she said.

They must be physically unable to go to a vaccination clinic or mass vaccination site, with or without assistance, and they must have no history of severe allergic reactions requiring the use of an epinephrine auto injector (epi pen).

The state Department of Public Health set up a website for those who are homebound and are seeking vaccination, https://dphsubmissions.ct.gov/homebound. Residents who cannot register online for homebound vaccinations can contact the Wallingford Health Department at 203-294-2065.

Once a homebound individual signs up, the health department schedules a visit with two staff members — a nurse and a health educator.

The nurse goes over the consent form and medical history with the patient. Once all the documents are filled out, the nurse administers the one-shot Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

“We don't have the capability of sending our staff to do the second shot,” Bautista said.

The nurse and the health educator wait for about 15-30 minutes after vaccination is administered, in case there are any allergic reactions.

Bautista said it’s mostly elderly residents seeking homebound visits, but also young to middle aged adults with disabilities — some of whom couldn't move from their bed or speak — who lived at home with their parents, she said.

Where to find vaccines

The public’s overall biggest concern — getting an appointment — has been resolved with facilities opening up and providing vaccination, she said.

“That was the main issue before,” she said, “people calling and basically saying, ‘I can't get into the Hartford Healthcare. I tried my hospital and they're not letting me in,’ and we were so booked with our clinics ourselves, so we couldn't get those people in. But right now, I would say that's being resolved because of the facilities offering the vaccines.”

Walgreens pharmacy, 284 S. Colony Road, Rite Aid pharmacy 605 N. Colony Road, CVS pharmacy, 891 N. Colony Road, Walmart, 844 N. Colony Road, and Stop and Shop, 930 N. Colony Road are among locations offering COVID-19 vaccination.

There is also a government website called Vaccine Finder that shows all clinics with available times by location. The website is vaccinefinder.gov.

The Wallingford Health Department's webpage https://www.wallingford.ct.us/government/departments/health-department/ provides further information on homebound vaccination and current mobile clinics.

LTakores@record-journal.com

203-317-2212

Twitter: @LCTakores



"You don't need insurance, you don't need to be documented or legally here in order to get the vaccine, so that was kind of a relief for them to find that out."

-Vanessa Bautista

El departamento de salud también ha estado luchando para alcanzar a las personas que no pueden salir de su hogar sin dificultad.

Bautista dijo que las personas usualmente están confinadas por razones de edad, enfermedad o incapacidad.

Para calificar para vacunaciones en su hogar, la persona tiene que cumplir con cierto criterio de elegibilidad, dijo ella.

Tiene que ser físicamente imposible el llegar a la clínica de vacunación o el lugar de vacunación en masa, con o sin asistencia, y no pueden tener historial de reacciones alérgicas severas que requieran el uso de un autoinyector de epinefrina (epi pen).

El Departamento de Salud Pública estableció un sitio web para las personas confinadas a su hogar que están interesados en recibir la vacuna, https://dphsubmissions.ct.gov/homebound. Los residentes que no se puedan registrar para las vacunas para personas confinadas en línea pueden contactar al Departamento de Salud de Wallingford al 203-294-2065.

Una vez que un individuo confinado se registre, el departamento de salud le programa una visita con dos miembros del personal - una enfermera y un educador de salud.

La enfermera revisará el formulario de consentimiento y el historial médico con el/la paciente. Una vez que todos los formularios estén completos - La enfermera administra la vacuna de Johnson & Johnson (J & J).

“No tenemos la capacidad de mandar a nuestro personal a administrar una segunda vacuna'', dijo Bautista.

La enfermera y el educador de salud esperan por 15-30 minutos después que se administre la vacuna, en caso de que haya cualquier reacción alérgica.

Bautista dijo que las personas que están pidiendo las visitas para residentes confinados mayormente son los residentes de tercera edad, como también jóvenes o adultos de mediana edad con incapacidades - algunos de los cuales no se pueden mover de sus camas o hablar - quienes viven en el hogar con sus padres, dijo ella.

¿Dónde puedo conseguir las vacunas?

La preocupación primordial del público - programando un cita - se ha resuelto con la apertura de instalaciones que están proporcionando las vacunas, dijo ella.

“Ese era el problema principal anteriormente,” ella dijo, “las personas llamaban a decir, ‘No puedo llegar al Hartford HealthCare. Trate en mi hospital y no me dejan ir, y nuestras clínicas estaban tan llenas, que no podíamos atender a estas personas. Ahora, diría que esto se está resolviendo por todas las instalaciones que están ofreciendo las vacunas.”

Las farmacias en Walgreens, 284 South Colony Road, Rite Aid 605 N. Colony Road, CVS 891 N. Colony Road, Walmart 844 N. Colony Road, y Stop & Shop, 930 N. Colony Road, están ofreciendo vacunas de COVID-19. También hay un sitio web del gobierno llamado Vaccine Finder que muestra todas las clínicas disponibles por horario y localidades. El sitio web es vaccinefinder.gov.

El sitio web del Departamento de Salud de Wallingford provee información acerca de la vacunación para personas confinadas y las clínicas móviles actuales.

Traducción por Lizandra Mejías-Salinas, Comunidad Hispana de Wallingford.

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