County addresses the significant delays in vaccinating some homebound seniors

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Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 21:31:31-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego County health officials acknowledged on Thursday that there have been significant delays with getting vaccinations administered to some homebound seniors.

"I think it's reprehensible that [the county is] aware that there is such a problem but seems to be doing little if anything about it," said San Diegan Don Yeckel. He spoke to ABC 10News on Thursday morning about his failed efforts in getting a vaccine from the county for his wife, Jeanette.

The 88-year-old has COPD and is confined to her bed since she lost the use of her legs. She requires 24/7 in-home care.

"We have a minimum of 10 people regularly coming in from the outside world and they have their families so that's an ongoing threat," said Don. He said that he first heard County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announce in early February that people could start calling 211 to get homebound seniors on a special vaccination home-visit list. He told ABC 10News that he immediately signed his wife up but added that days of waiting for an appointment soon turned into weeks. He explained that he couldn't get clear answers.

It's been more than five weeks and Jeanette still hasn't been vaccinated.

Meanwhile, other lower-priority tier receipts are getting their shots.

Jeanette is not alone. Two weeks ago, ABC 10News interviewed a man who's been going through similar issues with getting a shot for his homebound 101-year-old mother.

At Thursday's county press conference, ABC 10News asked Supervisor Fletcher about the delay.

"The short answer is that it's a very challenging situation. We've had some hiccups, but we think we're getting this back on track and moving more smoothly," he said in part and added, "We did have a provider on early when we announced the upstart of the program. That provider did about three dozen vaccines and then came to the realization that they could not continue and so we had to pivot."

Another county spokesperson said in part that the county has since pivoted to Sharp HealthCare. The spokesperson said that starting on Thursday, Sharp HealthCare will handle the vaccinations.

Both the spokesperson and Supervisor Fletcher said that the county has emphasized vaccinating caregivers to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure to seniors.

On Thursday afternoon, the county spokesperson said that a county representative had spoken to the Yeckels and informed them that Jeanette will be included in Sharp HealthCare's first group of recipients.