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Homebound In Baltimore County Soon Will Join The Line For COVID Vaccine

Baltimore County

People who are homebound or without transportation have had little or no chance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Now, Baltimore County officials are about to announce a plan to get shots into the arms of those who cannot get to vaccination sites.

Under the plan, a public health nurse and an EMT will come to homebound people to administer the vaccine starting next week. Fire Department Battalion Chief David Bycoffe said it’s challenging because it’s time-consuming and the vaccine has a short shelf life once it’s defrosted.

“Once a vaccine has been opened and ready to be used on a patient, we do have some time constraints,” said Bycoffe. “Baltimore County is a big county.”

He said they will strategically group homebound people who live near each other to be vaccinated on a given day.

“The goal of a vaccination program is volume,” Bycoffe said. “You want to vaccinate as many people as possible. You simply can’t do that when you are going from home to home.”

For that reason, county officials want to be sure that someone really is homebound.

You first need to sign up at the county’s vaccine registryand indicate that you are homebound. But that’s not all.

“We’ve asked that they provide a certification from their physician that they are homebound,” Bycoffe said. “Then the health department will work with them to provide access.”

That may be a while because thousands of people have already registered that they are homebound and vaccine supplies are very limited.

On Friday, the county also is to announce a program to help people without transportation get to vaccination clinics.

If you have an appointment to get vaccinated and you just need a lift, you can call 3-1-1 and the county will get you an Uber and pick up the tab.

After you receive the vaccine, someone on staff at the clinic will help you schedule a ride home.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said in a statement: “We will continue looking for ways to increase access and ensure equity as we ensure we serve every eligible resident who wishes to receive a vaccine.”

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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