Homebound seniors who called 211 still waiting for vaccines

Homebound seniors.png
Posted at 11:00 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 09:02:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego County's homebound seniors still have not received their COVID-19 vaccines, even though a month ago, the County announced a new program to put homebound seniors on a new vaccination home-visit list. They site logistical challenges for the delays.

Last month, 68-year-old Earl Fish got his Pfizer shots at Sharp Grossmont Hospital with no problems.

"I am fully vaccinated," Fish said.

But his 101-year-old mother, Catherine, is still waiting her turn. With a fractured ankle, she is homebound. So like any good son, Fish reached out to her HMO. But he was told they do not do house calls, neither do superstations or neighborhood clinics.

He was out of options until he saw a report on ABC 10News in early February, where County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said that people could start calling 211 to get homebound seniors on a special vaccination home-visit list.

"I'm thinking great. This is just great!" Fish said.

So he called the next day. But the operator did not know what he was talking about. A few days later, he called again. This time, they got his information, saying they would call back soon. But a week went by, and he had not heard back.

"I called 211 on the following Monday to put her name on the list," Fish said, putting finger quotes on "the list."

Four calls and several weeks later, Fish still has not received a home visit confirmation.

"My mom's like, 'Where's my shot?' 'I'm trying, Mom. I'm trying!'" Fish said.

"Unfortunately, our hands have been tied because of the logistics of the vaccines themselves," Paul Downey with Serving Seniors said.

Serving Seniors works in partnership with the County and 211. He says with because Pfizer and Moderna require extra low-temperature freezers, it is difficult to make home visits.

"Once they're thawed, they have to be injected in a person's arm within a specified period of time, and they're not easily transported to be able to go door to door," Downey said.

But he says hopefully, not for long.

"I think Johnson and Johnson is a potential game-changer because it does not need to be stored at the same temperatures. It's more easily transported, and also, it's a one-shot," Downey said.

Downey asks seniors to have just a little more patience, and hopefully, they will be able to get their shots in the near future.

"My hope is I'm going to receive a call saying, 'Can we come out and give your mom a shot?'" Fish said.