Empress EMS and Westchester team up to bring vaccines to homebound residents
As vaccine eligibility expands, there is a new push to bring vaccines to homebound residents of Westchester County.
Empress EMS and Westchester County are teaming up to drive the vaccine into the arms of those who cannot leave their homes.
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The initiative could help keep the virus from spreading in multi-generational homes.
While there is no central registry to track the entire homebound population, state data finds there are about 365,000 patients in New York using Medicare and Medicaid in-home services.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer estimates there are at least a few thousand homebound residents in the county alone. However, he says this program will give the county a better grasp as to the exact number.
Latimer tells News 12 that most of the people who are homebound in Westchester are over the age of 60 and are among the most vulnerable populations. “You can’t risk anything with a person who already has underlying health issues that made them homebound in the first place — so that’s why he says it’s important to find those residents as fast as we can and vaccinate them as fast as we can.”
Latimer says they’ve vaccinated at least 500 homebound residents so far, and is looking to get to a few thousand by the end of June.
"Our community health teams then work with them to deploy the Johnson and Johnson vaccine — a one-shot dose into folks' homes who otherwise don't have access or the inability to leave their homes and are medically fragile and shouldn't leave their homes. And so far, it's been highly successful with several hundred people vaccinated," says Hanan Cohen, Empress EMS mobile health care director.