Vaccination campaign reaches out to homebound Vermonters

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 5:52 PM EST
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WAITSFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont, like the rest of the world, is working to quickly vaccinate as many people as possible. And this week health officials continued to roll out a plan to help those who are homebound.

Ninety-four-year-old Bobbie Rodgers has lived in Waitsfield most of her life. On Wednesday, someone came to see her at home as part of a new state initiative to vaccinate those who are homebound. “I feel great, just great. No problem,” Rodgers said.

Once she gets her second shot, Rodgers says she’s looking forward to seeing her husband, Bill, again. He is in a Barre nursing home and she has been alone for the last several months. She cherishes the wedding ring made from gold she says Bill panned for in the Mad River. “He wants to see me and I want to see him, but I can’t bring him home and that’s a bummer,” she said.

Rodgers is one of some 2,500 homebound Vermonters who receive care through home health agencies such as Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice. Administering shots through mass vaccination clinics is complicated enough, but delivering the perishable vaccines one-by-one and filling out patient paperwork adds several layers of complexity. “Back roads, snow, you never know whether the weathers going to be... Timing is always a challenge -- making sure you’re getting to your next stop on time so you don’t waste doses as well,” said Ashley Lafirira with CVHHH.

And add to that that all of these tasks are done by one person. “It’s an opportunity for us to really give back to the community and maintain their health and safety,” said Sandy Rousse, CVHHH’s CEO.

If caregivers and household members fall in the 75-plus group, they can get the shot as well. She says it’s aimed at mitigating risk. “Lots of times we are seeing individuals that are 80-years-old and their caregiver is 85-years-old. And it’s winter and it’s easier for them to be able to have it together and be vaccinated together,” Rousse said.

It’ll take time to get to every homebound senior, but Rodgers is happy the ball is rolling and she is one step closer to seeing her husband.

The state is still hammering out plans for homebound Vermonters who don’t receive care at home. Officials say that could involve coordinating with municipalities and local EMS crews.

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